Connecticut

Veterans Honored During 10th Annual Iwo Jima Memorial Victory Ride in New Britain

Veterans and their families and friends put on their helmets for the 10th annual Iwo Jima Memorial Victory Ride in New Britain on Sunday.

Gary Roy from East Hartford said he started the Iwo Jima Survivors Victory Ride ten years ago to honor World War II veterans.

"Nobody's doing nothing like this to really thank them," said Roy, the chairman of the Iwo Jima Survivors Victory Ride.

One of those veterans is 101-year-old Edward Skehan from Newington.

"It's very nice. You meet a lot of people. You meet them every year," Skehan said.

Skehan served in the Army from 1943 to 1946. He fought with the 280th Engineer Combat Battalion in the famous Battle of the Bulge.

"Started off very hard with the Battle of the Bulge. We went through all different countries all the way to the Rhine River, crossed the Rhine River and that was the end of it," he said.

On Sunday, Skehan watched as family, friends and other veterans honored him and so many others by riding across New Britain to the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Rider Raymond Philippon is a veteran, too. He was riding for his son, Lawrence, who he lost 14 years ago this month, in Iraq.

"I ride in this event because of the love everyone shows for our veterans. It's an awesome community, so much support," he said.

The proceeds of the Memorial Ride go towards the construction of a proposed Gold Star Families memorial monument in Connecticut. It would be a place for the families of fallen veterans to honor their loved ones.

"Having that monument would mean a lot to me, it’d be a place for me to go and honor my brother," said Angelina Blankschen of Wolcott.

Even though Skehan may not have been able to ride on Sunday, he did give his secret to living a long and happy life.

"I have a Dunkin' donut and a Dunkin' coffee every single morning," Skehan added.

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