John Williams

John Williams

After a few days of recovery and reflection I have come to realize that the Gold Star Mission 500 was much more than just a bike ride. He dosen’t realize it but doing this ride was inspired by Gary Gummersheimer and the work he has done with the American Legion and Boys State. His dedication to these organizations showed me that a civilian can have a huge impact on those who have served our great country and our society as a whole.

I did my best to prepare physically for riding 500 miles and long hours on the bike. What I did not realize was the mental preparation that I would need for a ride like this. It was far more emotional of an experience than I expected. Taking time at each town to remember our fallen soldiers and meeting their family is something honestly am still unsure how I could have prepared myself. Thankfully I was surrounded by a group of fantastic people who were feeling the same things I was. I owe so much to each of them not only for their dedication to serving in our military but for the great example they are of courage and sacrifice.

So what is the Gold Star 500? After riding 513 miles I have found that it was much more than a bike ride but it can be summarized into one word… empathy. The experience of this ride has opened my eyes and heart to the pain that Gold Star families feel every day. I just hope that the discomfort and effort that I put into riding is a sign to them that their sons and daughters will not be forgotten.

Always remember, never forget!