Thunder Ride benefits local military families

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jun 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-04 19:39:44-04

Drivers on Interstate 84 may have experienced some delays Sunday morning but it wasn't because of a wreck or construction. Instead, a long-standing tradition near and dear to the hearts of motorcycle riders in the Gem state.

Over 800 motorcycles had their kickstands going up with their journey taking them to Mountain Home. Escorted by police, the procession is not only a chance to enjoy a ride but one with a purpose.

Each entry fee in the 8th Annual Idaho Patriot Thunder Ride goes to one of two groups that supports local families of the deployed. They are Operation Warm Heart and the Idaho Guard and Reserve Family Support.

Both provide funds for families in need from the Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field in Boise.

"These air men come into the military and they don't hardly make anything," says Todd Godfrey, the Thunder Ride co-director. "So, if their husband or wife is deployed in an emergency, a death in the family, they need plane tickets, pay a bill or something like that, organizations like those two help those young folks get through that hump."

Some of the very people they show their support for are at the send off. Always in stand-by mode, members of the Idaho Army National Guard are currently on heightened alert.

"We're proud to represent and defend and assist this community anytime we get a chance," says Brigadier General Robert Lytle, a land component commander with the Idaho Army National Guard. "We're worried about the flooding, we're worried about some things that are happening right now locally and we're ready to assist in any way possible."

Godfrey can't think of a better way to thank families whom, he says, also sacrifice so much. He says showing support for service members can go beyond donations.

"If you see a service member, go up there and shake their hand and tell them thank you for your service," Godfrey says. "It means a lot to them and they need that reinforcement."

In the last seven years, the Idaho Patriot Thunder Ride has raised over $250,000 in support of local military families.