SMOKEY POINT — Close to 300 motorcycles took to the roads of Arlington, Lake Stevens and Marysville to honor the men and women of law enforcement, the fire service and the armed forces, as well as those who lost their lives on 9/11, as part of this year’s area “Patriot Ride.”
For the third year in a row, the Harley-Davidson Owners Group of Sound Harley-Davidson in Smokey Point kicked off their morning cruise from the Sound Harley in Smokey Point, on the weekend after Sept. 11, to help support those who have served and still serve to protect and defend America’s citizens, as well as to pay tribute to the fallen.
Event organizer and area firefighter Evan Adolf estimated that this year’s Patriot Ride drew 325 riders on 275 motorcycles, slightly up from last year’s procession of 260 motorcycles, but below his goal of 350 motorcycles for this year.
“I couldn’t say yet how much money we’ve raised this year, but last year we generated about $1,200 from the sales of T-shirts and ride patches, and probably another $2,000 from the food,” Adolf said on Sept. 14, after the riders had returned to Sound Harley for live music, barbecue meals, a bouncy house for the kids, roasted corn, kettle corn and more.
Adolf recalled how the Patriot Ride got started at the Sound Harley in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“As a fireman for 23 years, that day obviously has a lot of significance for me, and for all of my fellow firefighters, because 343 of us died in New York City that day,” said Adolf, who serves in Snohomish County Fire District 7, serving Snohomish, Clearview and Mill Creek. “We thought about tying the occasion into honoring not just those who had sacrificed their lives, but also those who are currently serving in the military, or as police officers or firefighters, to protect our way of life.”
To that end, the Patriot Ride will donate a portion of the sales from its ride patches, and all the money raised from the day’s sales of T-shirts and barbecue meals, to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.
“It’s 12 years later, and so many people have already forgotten about 9/11,” Adolf said. “Unless they see clips of it on the news again, they don’t remember. We’re here to help our guys when they come back.”
Adolf made sure not to forget to thank any of the individuals or groups that have made the Patriot Ride possible, from the approximately 35 volunteers who helped him coordinate the event, to the staff of Sound Harley and the participating agencies of the Marysville Police Department, Getchell Fire District 21, and the Lake Stevens police and fire departments.
“This Saturday is also Sound Harley’s anniversary party,” Adolf said on Sept. 14. “Usually, we hold our Patriot Ride on the Sunday after, but this year, we wanted to capitalize on it and bring everybody in for the barbecue. Before we set out this morning I asked for a show of hands of everyone who’s either a veteran, or currently serving in the military, or a current or former police officer or firefighter, or the loved one of any of those people. Just about everyone’s hand was raised. This is a ride that everyone here has a reason to be on. It means something to everyone here.”
In addition to America’s military members who are overseas, Adolf asked citizens to spare a thought for those law enforcement and emergency response personnel at home who seek to safeguard them.
“I know it can be a little inconvenient to have to go through extra security at the airport, but those folks are there for you,” Adolf said. “It’s like firemen; it’s in our makeup to want to help others.”