EAGLE COUNTY — For the past dozen years, Eagle County’s emergency service agencies have honored the memory of colleagues who have died in the line of duty with a Ride in Remembrance. This year’s ride was the biggest yet.
The ride — a parade of motorcyclists and emergency vehicles up Interstate 70 from Edwards to Vail — takes place in all different weather. Conditions are sunny and warm some years, drowned-rat wet in others. There was snow on the ground a few years ago. But riders always turn out.
This year’s ride was cool and cloudy, with just a few raindrops. And Moses Gonzales, the Vail code enforcement officer who organizes the event every year, said this year was the best turnout yet, with both riders and classic-car owners making the trip.
And this year’s procession was a long one, riding slowly from Edwards to Vail, as police officers blocked on-ramp traffic as the group passed. As the lead group of motorcycles and emergency vehicles passed Vail’s Town Hall on the way to Donovan Pavilion on South Frontage Road, the tail of the procession was still on the eastbound I-70 off-ramp. That was thanks, in large part, to the classic-car contingent
Don Welch said Gonzales approached the “cars and coffee” drivers, an informal group that gets together on Sundays, about participating in this year’s ride. About a dozen car owners turned up, in the middle of a work day.
“It’s especially poignant today, with what’s happened in Oklahoma,” Welch said, referring to Monday’s tornado that devastated Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.
Getting off his motorcycle in Vail, Larry Mullen said he decided to participate in the ride because of his long military experience.
“I have respect for all who serve,” he said.
Fellow rider Doug Landin echoed Mullen’s remarks.
“I just respect all these people — especially in these days,” Landin said.
Inside Vail’s Donovan Pavilion, District Judge Thomas Moorhead addressed a group made up mostly of those in the emergency services, sprinkled with a good number of civilians.
Moorhead said those in the emergency services “inspire us to help the person next to us.” Those who “live in service of the greater good” share one defining quality, Moorhead said: Courage. That quality is defined in some Asian traditions as springing from love of humanity, Moorhead said, and was defined by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as “the first among human qualities.”
And human courage will never go out of fashion, Moorhead said. Even with all that’s possible with technology, “you need boots on the ground ... people of courage,” he said.
After the ceremony, and after lunch, Gonzales said he hopes that the Ride in Remembrance can be held on the same day every year. For those who every year bundle up and ride, there must be many who hope that date could come in early June.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.