Motorcycle ride commemorates fallen soldier
The thunderous roar of motorcycle engines was heard throughout the grounds of Parkwood Institute during the 10th annual Trooper Mark Wilson Ride on Saturday, May 11. The motorcycle ride is a tribute to Trooper Mark Wilson, a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. He was the only London native not to make it home from tour of duty in Afghanistan.
From left to right: Duane Adams, 1st CAV Ortona President & Trooper Mark Wilson Ride (TMWR) Event Coordinator, Cory Hibbert, TMWR Event Coordinator, Greg Young TMWR Head Event Coordinator, D'Arcy McFalls, TMWR Event Coordinator, Derrick McClinchey, TMWR Founder & CAV National President.
Derrick “Maddawg” McClinchey, current National President of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units (The CAV), started the ride in 2009 after meeting Mark’s parents, Carl and Carolyn Wilson, and learning what had happened to Mark. Derrick was inspired to commemorate the soldier’s sacrifice the way he knew best – a grand ol’ motorcycle ride. Having attended many rides and events commemorating Veterans, Derrick saw this as the perfect opportunity to remember Mark.
Fast forward ten years and the event is more popular than ever under the guidance of Greg “Blue” Young, Cory “Cujo” Hibbert and their dedicated team of volunteers from the 1st CAV Ortona Unit.
The day of festivities featured live music and a motorcycle ride around London, all anchored by a touching memorial to Mark Wilson. It’s an event that truly honors the spirit of organizers and honorees. Members of the 1st CAV Ortona are bound together by their love for bikes. When they’re not experiencing the thrill of the wind whipping past them on the open road, they’re getting together to swap stories and talk about the old days.
“We are just riding, having fun and helping others,” says Derrick. “That’s our CAV’s mission.”
The 1st CAV Ortona is equally as dedicated to fundraising for local and national charities that support Veterans. Each year, proceeds from the Trooper Mark Wilson Ride are directed towards St. Joseph’s Veterans Care Program. The event has raised more than $165,000 over its nine year history. For the 120 Veterans of World War II and the Korean War who make their home at Parkwood Institute, the funds help to ensure individual needs are met. Residents are able to live fully, supported by excellent care, enriching programs and home-like comforts.
Such community events show the Veterans their service is still remembered and respected. The 1st CAV Ortona thanks all the volunteers, including staff at St. Joseph’s, for helping to make the ride’s 10th anniversary a special and memorable event.