On Saturday, June 23, members of Moose Lodge 1376 Moose Riders from Weston, W.Va., joined with members of Laurel Moose Lodge 1504 Riders to honor veterans of World War II and raise money in support of the Laurel Lodge's Tommy Moose program.
The Tommy Moose is a plush toy and a representation of the Moose Lodge's traditional mascot. Cases of Tommy Moose toys will be provided to Laurel Police and the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department, as well as other neighboring jurisdictions, to provide to children in distress.
Carried in patrol cars and on fire engines, the Tommy Moose is intended to provide comfort to children during periods of distress such as house fires, domestic disturbances or other traumatic events.
The day began early with members of both Moose Rider groups riding into Washington to visit the National World War II Memorial. The Riders group was joined on the ride by members of several local chapters of Hogs and Heroes, a motorcycle group dedicated to providing funeral escorts and paying honor to fallen police officers, firefighters and service members. Approximately 50 motorcycles took part in the ride.
While at the memorial, members of all three groups joined in paying honor to visiting World War II veterans visiting the memorial.
The Riders returned to the Laurel Moose Lodge for a barbecue and crab feast. The highlight of the event was the presentation of a ceremonial Tommy Moose to Pfc. Mark Schmidt, who represented the Laurel Police Department.
The West Virginia Moose Riders was formed in response to one of their members losing a child to cancer. To honor her and her family, the Jordan's Run motorcycle event was started and to date has raised more than $10,000 for children's charity.
After hearing of their success and to also honor the memory of Jordan, Laurel 1504 Moose Riders was formed. The Moose Riders' charter is to support the lodge, raise money to benefit children's charities, pay homage to our nation's fallen heroes and enjoy time together on or off the motorcycle.
Chris Davis is vice president of Laurel Moose 1504 Riders.