Andrew Wade First Memorial Ride

On September 17th, 2011, Andrew's dad, Doug, along with family and friends, organized the first Andrew Wade Memorial Ride. Andrew's family is, understandably, quite broken up at his loss and they wanted...no needed...to do something special in his honor. So they organized a memorial motorcycle/classic car ride in his honor. The proceeds went to the Open Arms Mission food pantry to help feed local, needy families...in Andrew's honor.

Andrew was a neighbor...a local area boy from our new neighborhood who was a high school soccer star just a few years ago. After graduation in 2007, he enlisted in the Army as a 5th generation soldier. Specialist Andrew Wade became a sniper, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. In spring of 2010 he was deployed to serve in Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. But, very sadly, on March 9th, 2011, he was killed!

Greg and I had only just moved to this beautiful country, lakeland region of northern Illinois, after a lifetime in Chicago proper for me and a previous lifetime in Ohio for Greg. Shortly after moving here, I received an email notice from the Patriot Guard Riders, of which I'm a member since 2007. It was a mission call to guard riders asking them to volunteer to participate in the honor guard to help bring Andrew's body back home to his family and his final rest. Realizing Andrew was a neighbor I'd never met, I just had to be there for him...regardless of the cold March winds.

I headed to Waukegan Airport on my motorcycle where Andrew's body was to arrive and helped escort him back home so his family and friends could say their last goodbyes. See In Loving Memory of Andrew Wade to view the photostory of his return, wake and funeral.

I didn't know Andrew or his parents/family at the time of his return, but since then, Greg and I have met his mom, Elizabeth, and siblings, as well as become good friends with his dad, Doug, who we often see around.

Below are some photos we took during the ride. Doug plans an even bigger/better ride next year...we hope to see you there as a participant!

Andrew's dad, Doug (in cowboy hat) gathering the troops to start the ride.

Lining up.

Some of the classic cars joining the event. That's Doug's red convertible.

Back inside Choppers (bar and grill) Andrew's mom, Elizabeth (back in the middle) helps participants sign in.

Andrew's siblings and close friends.

Fellow Patriot Guard Rider, Matt, and girlfriend, Ginger.

Dian, posing with a cool car that is painted in her favorite blue shade.

Riders' stop at each bar on the list to take a break and get their route card signed. Here we are hanging out in the back of NorShore...how pretty!

Greg Chapman and neighbor/fellow rider, Greg, outside NorShore.

Greg and Dian outside NorShore.

Greg Chapman.

Former Auto Mechanic, Greg, checking out these classics.

Greg...testing out a 'chopper.'<g>

Inside Choppers after the ride...hoping to win one of the many drawings.

Andrew's dad, Doug, calling out winning numbers for prizes.

Greg...and yes, we won TWO of the drawings. One of the items we won was a Green Bay Packer snack helmet. Not being Packer fans, we later held our own drawing at our local bar to give the helmet away...with the proceeds of that drawing going to help out our US War Dogs!

Each ride participant received one of these shirts, included in their entry cost. The wording..."From a place you will not see, comes a sound you will not hear"...honors Andrew, who was an Army Sniper.


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To Dian's Mission page.

To Dian's main Angel site.