Dozens of motorcyclists salute veterans with parade to Michigan SNFs

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The Brighter Side
The Brighter Side

The idea of a motorcycle ride to honor nursing home residents who served in the military first came to Colleen Goldman five years ago as a way to grant the wish of a dying resident.

“Not only was he a veteran but he was an old Harley rider,” said Goldman, life enrichment director of Tendercare Birchwood Health Center in Traverse City, MI, to the Traverse City Record-Eagle. “He wanted to feel the ground rumble.”

That idea turned into an annual Veterans Appreciation Ride, which brought a parade of nearly 80 riders from six local motorcycle groups to four Michigan nursing homes on Sunday.

The riders handed out flags and pins at each facility, saluting veterans and shaking their hands. If a veteran couldn't come outside to see the bikes, the riders went inside to meet them, Kasia Parcia, life enrichment director of Tendercare Traverse City, told the newspaper. The event wrapped up with a barbecue for veterans, riders and family members at Tendercare Birchwood.

“A lot of the riders that have never served in the military feel the way they can give back is by honoring those who did serve,” motorcyle rider and Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition President John Lefler told the Record-Eagle. “All veterans need to know that their sacrifices mean an awful lot to everybody. We want them to know when we go in there that they are not forgotten.”

Do you know of a brighter, lighter long-term care news item that is suitable for The Brighter Side? Email Staff Writer Emily Mongan at emily.mongan@mcknights.com.