Ride to Remember: A Tribute to Puget Sound Soldiers
From July 25th to July 29th, Team Jesse board members Kevin Mincio and Kevin Collins were joined by Team members Mark Larson and Rob Shields and set out on a bicycling “Ride to Remember” around Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. The five day journey covering 332 miles and 14,700 feet of vertical climbing was to pay tribute to 5 local heroes from the Puget Sound area who gave their today for our tomorrow. These soldiers were:
- Army PFC Mark Phillip Schettler, Everett, WA
- Army CPT Joseph W. Schultz, Port Angeles, WA
- Marine PFC Jason Hanson, Forks, WA
- Army SSG Michael Lee Burbank, Bremerton, WA
- Army SPC Joseph T. Caron, Parkland, WA
On the morning of July 25th, the Team was inspired and sent off by the family of Army PFC Schettler on Pier 55 in downtown Seattle before boarding a ferry for transport to the start point on Bainbridge Island. Day 1 was a challenging 75 miles to the town of Port Angeles, which included a setback on mile 12 due to a bike failure. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan was sent to assist us and ensured a team arrival by early evening.
Day 2 started in Port Angeles, the hometown of Army CPT Joseph W. Schultz, our honoree for the day, and included a scenic ride along Highways 112 and 101. The Team rode past Vietnam and Korean War memorials en route to the town of Forks, WA, which was the hometown of Day 3 hero, Marine PFC Jason Hanson.
Day 3 started emotionally at the resting place of Marine PFC Jason Hanson at the Forks Cemetery. After thanking PFC Hanson for his sacrifice, the next destination was the town of Lake Quinault, 64 miles away. After a lunch stop at the stunning Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific Ocean, it was all downhill (mostly) to Lake Quinault. This rest stop included a memorable swim by “most” of the Team!
After the best breakfast on the ride and a moment to remember SSG Michael Lee Burbank, Day 4 included a hilly south easterly route to the town of Elma, which turned out to have a lot to offer as an afternoon and evening of R&R prior to our final days ride.
The final day, July 29th, was the 26th birthday of Army SPC Joseph T. Caron, the hero appropriately honored on the ride home. The team pedaled extra hard to finish strong in the town of Bremerton in honor of SPC Caron. It was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle as the Team crossed the Puget Sound and had a chance to reflect on the past five days.
After the ride, Mark Larson commented, “It is one thing to honor fallen soldiers as an idea or concept but quite another to ride to and through the towns and communities from which they were called to serve. This ride allowed me the privilege to experience the places that produced five men that gave their lives for their communities. Their incredibly sacrificial gift is a testament to the strength of these communities - as well as their families. It was a pleasure to be able to participate in the 2014 Ride to Remember”