The Some Gave All event might be known for the motorcycles it musters, but the memorial ride also helps another group on two wheels.
It assists veterans in wheelchairs—men and women who have had some kind of spinal cord injury, disease or amputation that has impaired or taken away their ability to walk. Donations from the Frazier–Mason Some Gave All Memorial Motorcycle Ride help athletes participate in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, held each summer in a different city in America.
Athletes have to pay their travel costs to the games, which will take place July 11–16 in Louisville, Ky. The Paralyzed Veterans of America covers the airfare, and donations from private groups, such as Some Gave All, help with hotel expenses, said Irene Montero, recreational specialist at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond.
Some Gave All plans to donate about $7,500 to McGuire’s hotel fund this year, which will cover rooms for at least 10 athletes, she said. The amount is part of more than $75,000 that the foundation has donated to wheelchair athletes over the years, said Vic Mason, one of the event organizers.
“If we didn’t have money from donations for this, the veterans would have to pay for it out of pocket,” Montero said.
In addition, she and disabled veterans from the Richmond center will attend the 13th annual memorial event, scheduled Sunday, rain or shine. Montero and others will be at King George High School, where—if the weather is good—as many as 1,000 motorcyclists will arrive after completing their ride from Spotsylvania High School. An Army “Buffalo,” a mine-resistant ambush protected armored vehicle, will lead this year’s procession.
Motorcycle kick stands are scheduled to go up at 11 a.m. at Spotsylvania, and anyone interested in riding can register on site, between 8 and 10 Sunday morning.
“We love seeing all the bikes come in,” said Montero, adding that the foundation provides her group meal vouchers, a covered tent and unlimited hospitality. “They’re always so friendly to our veterans.”
Rick Frazier, who, like Mason, lost a son in the global war on terror and started the foundation to honor their memories, said helping veteran athletes in wheelchairs fits perfectly with Some Gave All’s mission.
“It’s what we do,” Frazier said. “This is a perfect opportunity to reach out and help veterans, to see how much strength they have to continue on and participate in as normal a life as possible. It’s very rewarding and uplifting to see that.”
Some Gave All was formed in 2007 after the deaths of Army Sgt. Nicholas Conan Mason of King George and Marine Sgt. Joshua James Frazier of Spotsylvania. Both were killed in Iraq, and their families used the first event to raise money for scholarships in their names.
Then the foundation was created and the ride picked up momentum to become the local equivalent of Rolling Thunder. Not only do bike clubs from near and far gather in any weather, but they—along with people who attend the music and ceremonies at King George High School—have helped raise more than $375,000 to support area disabled veterans or those representing the state, as well as the Mid-Atlantic Region, in the National Wheelchair Games.
“I think it’s an amazing thing that they can take this tragedy, this awful thing that happened, and turn it into something that gives back to the community,” Montero said.
Frazier would say the foundation has been a life-changer—and a life-saver—in the wake of his son’s death.
“If we didn’t have this whole Some Gave All Foundation and ride, over the years, I’m not sure how far I would have gotten,” he said. “The Masons and my family and also the veterans I have met over the years, they have given me the inner strength to continue on, year after year.”
He thanked the thousands of people who line the route between Spotsylvania and King George, who stand out in any kind of weather, gathered in clusters or single file on the roadside, to wave flags, cheer or salute in silence as the riders pass.
“What do you say about this community?” Frazier asked. “They’re wonderful.”
Mason echoed that, thanking police officers in each locality for their escort, as well as businesses and individuals who help sponsor the demonstrations and exhibits held at King George High School from noon to 4 p.m. He’s glad money raised goes to veterans who have found an outlet for “their competitive juices.”
“These men and women overcome obstacles without a complaint, while most of us complain about the least little thing,” Mason said, “and take for granted the blessings that we have.”