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Run for the Wall invades Putnam

May. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HURRICANE -- The National Weather Service won't have this in its long-range forecast, but there's a 100 percent chance of thunder on Wednesday in Hurricane.

No, the thunder won't be coming from the sky. It'll be coming from more than 400 motorcycles as riders on the annual Run for the Wall make their way to Wave Pool Park.

The Run for the Wall is an event in which motorcycle riders travel across the country, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the run, according to the Website, is to promote healing among veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all prisoners of war and those missing in action, to honor the memory of those killed in action from all wars and to support our military personnel all over the world.

Run for the Wall started in 1989 by James Gregory and Bill Evans. They were Vietnam veterans who traveled across America on motorcycles talking to local radio, TV, and newspapers about the thousands of men and women still unaccounted for from all of our wars.

Duane Maxey, West Virginia's state coordinator for Run for the Wall, was in California on Tuesday ready for the ride to begin.

"We're starting out at 7:50 a.m. local time and working our way east," Maxey said. "We'll be stopping at different towns, schools and VA Hospitals along the way."

Riders in the run are split into two groups; one group takes a southern route through states like Texas and Mississippi while a second group takes a northern route through Kansas and Indiana. The northern group is the one that will eventually make it to Hurricane.

"There're at least 400 bikes and it might be a little bigger," Maxey said of the group he's riding with.

Maxey is also involved with Bikers for Christ through Duane Maxey Motorcycle Ministry at Emmanuel Community Church in Huntington. "I see (the ride) as an extension of that," he said.

People are welcome to come out to the Wave Pool Park to show their support for veterans and get an impromptu motorcycle show.

"We have bikes from ones fresh off the showroom floor to some that are completely customized," Maxey said. "Our local Yamaha Star Chapter is the one putting on the stop in Hurricane, so they need to be recognized for their hard work."

When the Ride culminates in Washington, D.C., the riders will join Rolling Thunder's "Ride for Freedom" on May 26. The riders will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

If you're a rider who would like to join the ride in Hurricane, you can.

"There will be a registration tent set up before we get there," Maxie said. "Anyone with a bike and proper licenses can join for a $40 fee."

The fee goes to cover administrative and promotional costs for the ride.