The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Honor (Days Eighty-Eight and Eighty-Nine)

One of the first times I spoke to Ryan Manion, sister to fallen hero Marine 1LT Travis Manion, she told me her father always said, “There are those who get it and those who don’t.”  The words of Marine Colonel Tom Manion have been referred to many times throughout The Ride, and the past 2 days have been spent joyfully with those that “get it.”  It comes at a time when we need it most:  Five days from the finish with a lot of work ahead of us.

Adam Messick “get’s it.”  Since his arrival back in Annapolis, I have felt great support from a man who is selflessly committed 100% to what we are doing.   Initially, that translated to SAG responsibilities and ensuring that we were prepared and able to successfully execute our rides.  Recently, I have had an opportunity to witness his contributions exceed far beyond that.  We visited his hometown of Media for a fundraising event at a place called The Boathouse.  Adam’s entire family “showed up”, including his grandmother, as well as his friends.  We spent the evening getting to know these wonderful people and learning more about Adam’s time in Media, PA before heading west for college and life thereafter.   However, we did not see Adam all that much.  He owned this event and was out working the crowd for donations and selling raffle tickets.  I walked away from The Boathouse feeling very grateful that I have solid people like Adam on the team.

Val and Patsy Sauri “get it” too.  Matt’s dad and stepmother put us up in Philadelphia in their home.  We were all on the 3rd floor in what we expected to be barracks-style living, which was hardly the case given their incredible home.  Our rest day turned out to be Val’s birthday and they invited a large group of friends over for a dinner to celebrate.  Turns out, they were mostly celebrating for us.  Val insisted the spotlight be on our mission and we spent most the evening reliving The Ride amongst great people.  It was very humbling for me to witness such an act of selflessness.  Nowadays, it’s all to uncommon.   Our organization is rooted in placing the highest value on family in our lives and our trip to Philadelphia will be remembered for this reason.  Thank you Val and Patsy for being part of The Ride in such a meaningful way.  Your efforts are already going beyond the trip to your home.

Day Eighty-Nine has been anticipated for quiet some time.  We would be riding to Doylestown and straight to the offices of the Travis Manion Foundation, our partner on The Ride.   We started in Santa Rosa in Jesse’s hometown, and Janet Manion, Travis’ mother was there.  We would be riding to Travis’ hometown and Janet and the rest of her family and team would be there.  I would also be meeting Ryan Manion, Travis’ sister, who I worked with extensively over the past few months, for the first time.  Even with all the anticipation, the trip would exceed expectations.  Doylestown is a town that honors its heroes outwardly.  After a warm reception at their office, Ryan walked us through town and we visited parks and memorials that pay tribute to the service men and women of Buck’s County that gave their lives for our freedom, unfortunately all too many for this relatively small community.

Afterwards our teams got together for dinner and we got to meet Colonel Tom Manion for the first time.  It’s no wonder Travis’ was such a tremendous Marine officer.   Colonel Manion is a man who served his country for over twenty five years.  I spent much of the dinner listening to his views on service and learning how communicating his views can help further our joint mission.  Janet Manion gave the toast and her words of support and appreciation for what we are doing will be with me for the rest of The Ride and beyond.  The Manion family has believed in me and our team since day one.  I owe it to them to finish as strong as I possibly can.  And that is exactly what we are going to do.

To the limit,