June 4: Oshawa, ON:  Determination and Drive ... bikers and our troops share a common bond.

As the skies darkened over Ontario's 401 - Highway of Heroes it would have been an easy decision for the thousands of bikers scheduled to ride from Trenton to Oshawa to simply stay home.  For hours in the morning, the skies opened up to a torrential rain and rolling thunder.

But nothing was going to deter these leather clad men and women because for them, this was much more than a motorcycle ride.  For them it was a way to express their patriotism and their support for our Canadian Forces troops.  So onward they forged through a hail storm, arriving into Oshawa cold and shivering.

But when they arrived they found some warmth that many didn't expect.  Parked in front of the Armoury that is home to the Ontario Regiment, they found the Portraits of Honour mural and they found comfort and strength knowing that our fallen troops would never be forgotten. 

A special moment occured privately when three event volunteers stopped by.  At first, seeing a mother, who was later introduced as MJ, along with her 12 year old son Charlie and 9 year old daughter Alex wasn't out of the ordinary.  But when they pointed to Colonel Geoff Parker and called him Dad, the tears started to flow.  Tour staff and the Parker family had a nice visit and they returned shortly after with MJ's mother.  Charlie and Alex were so strong.  They are amazing kids.  

An audience of a couple hundred bikers and visitors were treated to an impromptu speech from Captain Wayne Johnston, founder of Wounded Warriors.  Captain Johnston spoke of the emotional and psychological injuries (post traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injury) that is affecting our brave troops and even admitted that he himself suffered PTSD as a result of his job as a Repatriation Officer in the Canadian Forces.  He reminded us that funding is necessary to help these troops.  If you would like to make a donation to help, you can do it online.

The support that Canadians are showing as they come to view the mural is heartwarming.  The thousands of bikers here in Oshawa proved that like our soldiers, sailors and aircrew, nothing could deter them in their determination and drive.