Bike tour honors veterans

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

RESERVE – Bikers participating in the Louisiana EMS Memorial Bike Ride on Saturday made a special pit stop at the Southeast Louisiana War Veteran’s Home to honor a handful of veterans with special dog tags.
Five veterans, each from a different military branch, were chosen by staff members at the veteran’s home to receive the honor. They were Freeman Rosa, Joseph Granier, Harold Isles, Joseph Denapolis and Ralph Millet.
Ryan Guise, a co-chair for the Louisiana EMS Memorial Bike Ride, said riders chose to honor the men and women for their service because “it’s something that doesn’t get done enough.” Guise said the special dog tags represent “the fallen” and the ride’s motto, “Une Tour à Rapeller, Une Tour à Honorer, Une Tour à Jamais Oublier,” meaning “A tour to remember, a tour to honor, a tour to never forget.” The group said it plans to do more events for veterans in the future.
“It was truly an honor to meet these men, to present them with the tags representing all of the veterans we have lost, to sit down with them, have lunch and talk to them. Some of these veterans don’t get visitors very much, if at all, so we wanted to let them know that they are not forgotten,” he said.
Twenty-seven bicycle enthusiasts made the trying, 55-mile ride from Delgado Community College in New Orleans to Ascension Parish Fire Protection District No. 1 this year in honor of emergency medical service providers who have died in the line of duty.
Guise said Stuart Redfearn was prompted to initiate his own bike memorial event in 2008 because he felt that EMS are often forgotten in the first responder community. Redfearn had just completed the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride on the east coast. Guise completed the ride himself in 2009 but became a volunteer after suffering a lower back injury. The co-chair rode to honor two close friends.
“I miss riding in this event. The feeling you get from knowing that you are riding in someone’s honor is humbling. When I rode for my partner, I was filled with grief and pride at the same time. Having the dog tags hanging around your neck and realizing why they are there is somewhat overwhelming,” he said.
The Louisiana EMS Memorial Bike Ride ultimate goal is to build a physical state EMS Memorial for those lost in the line of duty and raise awareness about EMS providers who have lost their lives. For more information about the Louisiana EMS Memorial Bike Ride, visit the event website at