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

September Morn (Day Eighty-Five)

As great as it is to see some of the places that we get to see along the way, it’s just as difficult to leave, at times. To know that it’s over and the experience is behind you, never to be repeated, is tough. We had been looking forward to Gettysburg since the inception of The Ride. And, it delivered. All of us took a turn for the better by being allowed to see it, walk it, ponder it and think about what our world might look like if it hadn’t happened. The entire experience was made all the more special because of the team’s realization of The Ride’s trajectory, and the way that the trip is gaining momentum every day, and things are quickly coming to a head. So, with our thoughts solemn, we rode out. The team was back to four riders, and Kari Pettibone was back with us for a few days, as Katie had cycled out, so to speak. Great to have Katie join us, as early on she had been very helpful in getting me ready for this task, and she had some real breakthroughs ‘way back when’, as I had never done anything like this before. Collins was still in the mix, and the timing couldn’t be any better since we’re seeing lots of closed roads, detour signs and such. Seems like Irene just won’t let it go sometimes, but with Collins, she can’t get us lost! Chief Route Master (In Charge) doesn’t get outsmarted by silly weather. Messick was the sole support person, and I’m not sure anyone is better suited for urban driving than Mr. Messick. He has quickly developed the reputation as using the SAG vehicle to block in a more aggressive fashion that we’ve seen. For example, on Eighty-Five, we were going to take a left-hand turn. Mess sped ahead of us, took the turn first, but slammed on his brakes halfway through, all the while honking his horn; his ‘whoopie’ light was on, of course, and we all took the turn safely and without slowing down. The red SUV that had to stop for us held a driver that didn’t seem too miffed about it. As riders, we all smile and wave as Messick blocks for us; this is to make up for the fact that Messick isn’t smiling. At all. He’s all business with this stuff, and I think that he enjoys the challenge of putting himself in the way so that we’re safer. Again with the great timing! Kari brings an unparalleled energy with her, and she has been part of the team since well before Day One, as she was part of the training crew that approached our task with dedication. Great to see her return, and she will help us through this stretch. I’m not sure of exactly how yet, but based on how things have gone and due to our commitment level, I’m certain that her attendance will be a blessing. This is the makeup of our team until Philadelphia. The road took us through York, PA, which was a town I’d seen often, but not in over twenty-five years, and maybe closer to thirty. My stepfather, David, whom I love dearly, would take my brother and I there to see his parents, who lived in York. He had a lot to do with the hands-on, day to day task of raising my brother and me, and the drive through York brought back memories and made me realize that I was probably a colossal pain in the arse growing up. That’s a different story, though. Back to York. Seems that it had changed quite a bit since I’d last been there; it had grown up, just as I had (sort-of). It still had the same feel, but newer buildings replaced older ones and there were signs of the times everywhere, both good and bad. I didn’t speak much during the stretch, as I was deep in thought.

We found ourselves pulling into Lancaster, PA, on what we realized was the first calendar day of our fourth month of being on the road. September is a month that means so very much to this trip, this cause and our leader’s legacy. It seemed like it was a lifetime away back in June. Today, it’s here, smiling at us, challenging us and inviting us to make our mark in her legacy. We have the opportunity to do great things and see some change in the world through our efforts and sacrifice, as well as our drive to do so. We will see it all the way to the end, and it’s about to get interesting.

For the Families of the Fallen…To the Limit!

Care Creates Community,

Matt Sauri