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2006-10-19 / Other News

Cycle Clubs Show Wounded Soldiers A Good Time

By Charles Rogers

Nam Knights and Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Clubs rev up their engines at Canarsie Pier for a good cause. Those veterans of the war in Vietnam who were physically wounded in battle, just as those who were emotionally injured, know what it's like to spend time in a hospital after returning from overseas duty. Those who have been to battle before can only soothe the pain of fellow warriors and give some support against the loneliness, perhaps, by their comrades in arms.

Such was the case last Thursday when two Brooklyn motorcycle clubs, with mostly Vietnam veterans as members, decided to show a group of wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. the proverbial "good time" in the Big Apple. The wounded soldiers had been taken to Walter Reed from Iraq and Afghanistan deployment.

More than 45 motorcyclists, from the Rolling Thunder M.C. and the Nam Knights M.C., gathered at Canarsie Pier at about 11 a.m. and, with an escort by five Port Authority Police cyclists, proceeded to JFK Airport to meet a plane carrying the nine soldiers.

Left: The motorcycle clubs head out to JFK. Kyle Wasnieski, a spokesman for the Nam Knights, said the motor clubs accompanied the soldiers to Fort Ham-ilton Headquarters in Bay Ridge, where they had been assigned quarters, and then took them for "some sightseeing."

"We know what these guys have been through," said Wasnieski, "and we know that a break from the routine at Walter Reed in the middle of their recuperation would be just the thing to turn the tide for them and help them get better." He said the members of the two clubs had lunch and dinner with the visitors and then they all took part in a parade through the streets of Bay Ridge on Saturday.

"We all went out on Saturday night and then on Sunday we treated them to a great big barbecue on the Fort Hamilton grounds," Wasnieski said. "They seemed to have a great time." The soldiers returned to Washington Sunday evening.

The Nam Knights and Rolling Thunder clubs are renowned for their kindness to others, especially veterans and related causes. Despite that rough exterior, their hearts melt when it comes to those who "could use a little help now and then," such as nine soldiers who will probably never forget how a night on the town helped them on their way to recovery.

Above: Rolling Thunder's former president Mike Palo confers with Ft. Hamilton coordinators Spec. John White and Spec. Matthew Holly about logistics. Photos by Charles Rogers

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