COOS BAY — Mike Greenway and his group, which included Tina and Gary Edwards, held the 5th Annual Bikes & Bugs "Tribute to the Troops" at the Coos Bay Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 8. It was a beautiful sunny day and of course, social distancing and masks were encouraged.
This year, a domestic car show was added to the event and brought some beautiful classic cars. The event included drag racing and a show & shine car show.
At noon, some of the highlights of the opening ceremony were the singing of the National Anthem, a ride-in from the Oregon South Coast Patriot Guard Riders on their motorcycles, along with the support vehicles and a beautiful presentation of colors by the Bandon Honor Guard, which now includes members from the Bandon VFW, Bandon American Legion and civilians.
"We usually are able to have a U.S. Coast Guard flyover, however our USCG had to unfortunately abort the mission this year due to some mechanical issues," said Krystal Hopper, who helped organize the veterans' groups for the event. "We are grateful for them to have been able to do this in the past, but understand the safety of our military members is far more important."
There were tables set up by the American Legion Post 34-Bay Area, VFW and Auxiliary Post 3440 in Bandon, Point Man Ministries Outpost 101, along with members present from AMVETS-Post 10 Coos Bay, Southern Oregon Veterans Outreach (SOVO), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Coos County Veteran Service Officer Matt Hays was present as well, to provide resources and important information to local veterans.
Point Man had its custom-made tryke on display, which was donated by Coos Cycles, and will be raffled off on Veterans Day to raise money for their organization. They have recently added a battlefield cross addition to the David Dewitt Memorial Wayside in North Bend and allowed a local boy to participate, so that he was able to receive Eagle Scout status by his birthday.
"Each year, this great group of people choose a local veteran support organization to benefit from their raffle," Hopper said. "They also offer free admission to veterans and military members. Two years ago, they chose SOVO and last year, they chose Bryan's Home/Operation Rebuild Hope. This year, they chose to raise money to purchase supplies for flags/holders for local Oregon South Coast Patriot Guard Riders (see more information about the group below). Many local businesses and organizations had contributed to these raffle items and $893 was raised, with an additional personal donation from Mr. Greenway of $107, for a total of $1,000."
"During these challenging times, outdoor events like this are still an avenue for community support of worthy causes," Hopper added. "They show how we can all work together to still help and give back to those who deserve it most."
Oregon South Coast Patriot Guard Riders: The Patriot Guard Riders is a 100% volunteer, federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans. Co-captains: Bob Kramer (541-808-8085) and Jim Bellay. For more information, visit their website at https://www.patriotguard.org/ or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ORSouthCoastPGR.