AMVETS POST 1 HELPS CROSS-COUNTRY BICYCLISTS REPLACE BIKE AND TRAILER
TACOMA, WA., August 18, 2011— Friday, Aug. 19 at 4:30 PM, Commander Kelley Buyers of AMVETS Post 1 in Tacoma will present a check at the post for $750 to two young veterans to help replace a bicycle and trailer destroyed Aug. 11 in a collision with a pickup truck in Oregon.
Erick Barfield, a Coast Guard veteran and 9/11 first responder, and his wife Monica, an Army veteran, left Tampa, Fla., in February on a year-long trek to raise awareness for homeless and disabled veterans. The couple has also promoted AMVETS, a leading veterans organization they say has helped them in the past.
After leaving Florida in February, the Barfields traveled north and westward, eventually reaching Indiana where they adopted their road companion, a Jack Russell Terrier named Lily. They had another eventful stop in Cheyenne, Wy., where the couple were joined by AMVETS volunteers from Wyoming Post 10 in assisting local homeless veterans. Continuing on to Southern California, they received support from California Post 113, then headed north where they ran into trouble in Oregon Aug. 11.
While fortunate not to have been seriously injured in the traffic accident that destroyed his bicycle and trailer, Erick was discouraged by the set back and feared the couple’s year-long mission of service would come to a premature end. The generosity of Washington AMVETS Post 1 changed all that.
“I was totally shocked; I couldn’t believe it,” said Barfield. “I wasn’t expecting anything, and for them to do this – well, they didn’t have to.”
The donation from Post 1 enabled Barfield to purchase a modified Trek 1000 touring bicycle and a replacement trailer, and during the unscheduled stop other generous donations have poured in including a stay at the Governor Hotel in Olympia, and cycling equipment donated by a local REI store. The Barfields plan to re-donate these items to local Washington veterans in need.
Dave Harris, past commander of the AMVETS Department of Washington and Post 1, said the donation came from post funds as well as individual contributions from members.
“We were glad to do it,” said Harris. “They’re really nice people. I think it’s cool they’re getting out and doing something to help other veterans, see the country and help people along the way. They’re sincere and dedicated.”