Gloria Clough & Family, Eyrik Allen, Lawson Clough, Wesley Allen
Did you know the Annual National Colorado FreedomRide just finished its 7th year? It took place in Colorado on May 21, 2016. The State Coordinator for our Colorado chapter is volunteer, Gloria Clough. Although Gloria has been occupied, along with all her volunteers who organize this event, she found time to share some thoughts. Her passion to honor the men and woman who answered the call for their country is truly inspiring. www.cofreedomride.com
Incase you are not familiar with what the Colorado FreedomRide entails, bikers across the nation ride together to honor and show their support for all Armed Forces Veterans of War, POW, MIA, KIA, WIA and our Troops. In Colorado, the ride ends in Fort Logan National Cemetery.
What inspired you to become involved with the Colorado FreedomRide? “In 2012, while fighting cancer, I volunteered to be the Colorado State Coordinator for the 4th Annual National Armed Forces FreedomRide (NAFFR) held in May 2013. I kept seeing this post asking for coordinators and Colorado was one of the states listed. I felt pulled/called to volunteer. I couldn’t let Colorado not be represented and NOT help our military men and women, both past and present. The first year was very rough and I learned a lot from the many mistakes I made.”
Cancer? I am sorry, Gloria. Are you comfortable sharing your experience? “I had cervical cancer and was on the brink of death…..literally. I was 64 pounds and ready to give up when a ray of sunshine came along that pulled me back. I was diagnosed on August 10, 2010 with stage III cervical cancer. By November 8, 2010 I was stage IV. On December 27, 2012, I was finally cancer free. I am “technically” not considered in remission until I am 5 years out, but I AM IN REMISSION. LOL”
As a mother, what do you hope to instil in your sons by being involved with the Colorado FreedomRide event? As a mother I want to teach all of my sons to have great respect for those that have served and for those currently serving. I want them to give back because in doing so they honor the sacrifices our Veterans, those serving, AND their families have and are making. My son, Lawson is volunteering during the event this year.”
What advice can you give to folks that are interested in starting their own event to honor our Veterans? I would advise someone to volunteer/mentor from the beginning of the planning process all the way through to the last penny being given away so they have an idea of the roller coaster they are embarking on. There is good, there is bad, there is ugly and when it all comes together it is the most humbling, awesomeness you never knew you could feel. I would highly recommend they have very reliable help as well.
Once the event was planned, how did the FreedomRide become known? “The ride has become known thanks to Facebook and amazing supporters who spread the word. I also post the ride every place I can think of as well as emailing many different riding clubs to invite them. We have a newsletter as well which sends something out about 3 or 4 times a year. This newsletter keeps people updated about when the ride is.”
How do you decide where to donate the $ that this ride generates? “In March 2013, I started a non-profit (Colorado Volunteer Support Services, Inc [www.coloradovss.org]) in part to be the parent company of NAFFR –Colorado. I wanted to make sure things were done legally as well as with the utmost transparency. I have been blessed with an amazing board. Planning the ride takes about 9 months. So every September, at our board meeting, we go through a list of charities and chose 2 (two). Most of the time, there is a carryover of one of the charities from the previous year. We are always looking for suggestions of charities. Criteria for being considered:
- Must help Veterans, those currently serving and/or their families.
- Must have non-profit status.
- Money MUST stay in Colorado to help those here.
- Must have been in operation long enough for us to feel/know they will be here for a while at least.”
We are grateful Gloria, for that ray of sunshine that brought you back to health. Thank you for your dedication to our veterans, service members and their families. It is truly amazing you first embarked on this journey while dealing with physical challenges. It is a privilege to share your story. We look forward to future Colorado FreedomRide’s.
NATIONAL ARMED FORCES FREEDOM COLORADO: “Our Mission is to pay our respects to those that have served and those that are currently serving. To show them we value their service and have not forgotten them. To bring awareness to those around us of the courage and selflessness of these brave men and women.”
Colorado FreedomRide 2016. John ‘Rowdy’, Bud, Wes, Paul, Bill & Gloria