Whenever there’s a Cruise-In downtown, it can get a little loud as the muscle cars flex their muscles, but it got a good bit louder on Saturday when a few dozen members of the Iron Order North Carolina motorcycle club roared into town.
The Rebel Saints charter of the club, based near Albemarle, was on a mission to deliver a check to the local VFW, the Capt. Mark Garner Post 7794, for its fundraising campaign to build a memorial to Gold Star families in Elkin Municipal Park.
“We’re just bikers, and we like to ride,” said Vice-President Todd Martin of Boonville, who goes by his Iron Order name of Fr8train. “We try to help out anyone who helps themselves.”
Giving back is an important part of the Iron Order philosophy, and they usually donate to two causes a year, but this spring’s COVID-19 lockdown hampered their usual fundraising. But they heard about the Elkin VFW’s project to build a Gold Star Memorial and decided they could help with a gun raffle.
That raffle resulted in a $1,200 check which they delivered Saturday.
“There are monuments for World War I, World War II, the Civil War, Iraq, Korea, Vietnam,” said VFW member Jon Garing, “but there were no monuments for the moms and dads, the brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price with the loss of a loved one. We all made it back.”
The monument slated for Elkin’s Municipal Park will be identical to monuments built in other states. It will represent Gold Star families in Northwest North Carolina and Southwest Virginia. There is one other monument in Eastern North Carolina, in Wilmington.
There are no names on the monuments, for two reasons, explained Garing. To ensure no one is left off and to allow the monument to stand the test of time and remain relevant going forward. There is a silhouette to represent all of the missing soldiers.
The monument will be made of black granite and has already been ordered. Garing said completion and dedication is planned for Memorial Day 2021, which he said was appropriate.
“We truly appreciate you coming up here, and taking your time to do this,” said Garing. “It means a lot to us as veterans.”
“A lot of us are military,” said Martin. “Some of our members are active military. Thank you for doing this.”
Source: The Tribune (Elkin) by Bill Colvard