Patriot Honor Ride coming to Rhode Island to honor fallen heroes
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Robert B. Lancia (R-Dist.16, Cranston) has announced the Patriot Honor Ride will arrive at the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 4 p.m. to honor Rhode Island’s wounded and fallen heroes by flying a flag at the Rhode Island State House and then folding it, to later present to a Rhode Island family.
The Patriot Honor Ride is the personal mission of retired USAF Colonel Gary West. West will be taking a 2500-mile bicycle journey from Maine to Key West in the hopes of honoring and raising funds for those killed or wounded preserving American freedom, which can never be repaid. Patriot Honor Ride intends to honor these fallen heroes by raising awareness and providing the public with an opportunity to participate in various acts of gratitude.
West says, “My desire is to engage the general public directly, to allow them to connect with real stories of families and have a chance to personally say thank you. To do this, I decided to carry a US flag, dedicated to a Folds of Honor family from each of the states I am riding through.”
“Due to my gratitude to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country, I invited the Patriot Honor Ride to Rhode Island to honor our injured and fallen heroes. It is a tremendous honor for all Rhode Islanders, to be able to participate in such a patriotic effort,” said Rep. Lancia. “I hope many will attend to honor Rhode Island’s fallen heroes.”
During the trip, the flag will be flown on flag poles in places of honor and distinction along the east coast. In addition, the flag will be folded ceremonially, over and over, by Americans, and dignitaries along the way. Each fold is intended to provide a tangible way for citizens to say thank you to families of wounded and fallen heroes.
In Rhode Island, Air Force Captain Kreg A. Palko will be honored. He is a disabled veteran who resides in Rhode Island. Palko attended the Air Force Academy where he was a star running back for the Fighting Falcons. During his active duty service, Captain Palko was a T-43 Airlift Pilot as well as a C-141 Instructor Pilot. However, the man his family knew and loved was falling down stairs, having muscle spasms, hand cramps and other symptoms. After much testing, Captain Palko was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This disease has robbed a proud service man with great athletic prowess of his ability to button his shirts or even write legibly. He is now confined to a motorized wheelchair and is unable to use his arms, hands and legs. There is no cure for ALS and the cost of the drugs used in treatment are astronomical. The prognosis for Captain Palko is terminal and time is running out. His daughter is a Folds of Honor Higher Education Scholarship recipient majoring in Environmental Science and Policy who has a great desire to channel her father’s spirit throughout her life and career.
At the end of the Patriot Honor Ride, West will give Palko’s daughter Gabriella her dad’s flag, along with a history of the flag’s journey along the way.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903