On May 20, 2017 the southern route of the 29th annual Run for the Wall made their pit stop in Grand Prairie, Texas. Members of Ship 1880, the SSS Zavala, were on hand in the parking lot of the Dubiski Career High School to welcome approximately 400 motorcycles and riders for the night. Our Boatswain, Coltrane Lins, not only helped to sweep the parking lot to make sure no debris would tear up the tires, but he helped to install the American Flags and the MIA/POW Flags to greet the riders. Many of the riders are veterans. Our Skipper, Peggy Kilcrease, and her First Mate, Kandice Lins are always on hand to hug necks and welcome the riders to the cafeteria where a hot meal, cold drinks and also free massages await them before they bed down for the night. This is an event that is looked forward to each year by the entire city of Grand Prairie, Texas and the riders are greeted by many of Grand Prairie’s citizens who each year pile into the parking lot of the high school and stand along the highway route of the run.
Most of the time, while we are at Run For The Wall’s pit stop in Grand Prairie, several of the riders remember us from the year before because we make it a point to hug the riders instead of just shaking their hand. 2016 was different, one rider remembered our Skipper Peggy Kilcrease for another reason. While she was a Army Nurse stationed in Cu Chi from 1968 until 1970, this soldier had been in her care for malaria. He remembered her putting ice on him and turning on a huge fan. He grabbed her and cried that it was because of her that he was still alive and able to ride from San Francisco to Washington, DC. Each year we hug and we cry. We cry for the ones that aren’t able to ride, and we cry with thanksgiving that the riders that are in Grand Prairie are fine.
- – by Ship 1880 Mate Kandice Lins