By Staff Writer
An old adage says, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", but Mary Wyscarver, THS teacher, begs to differ with that. For years her friends have told her of the joys of motorcycles. Finally on Memorial Day she joined almost one thousand bikers for the 15th annual "Ride to Remember" in West Texas to honor the fallen heroes. Her son, Marine SSgt. Joseph Fankhauser (KIA Afghanistan 2012), is her hero and was recently featured on Fox Sports Warriors Among Us – Honor the Fallen.
"I haven't been on a bike in over 30 years," said Wyscarver, "but I think Joe would have been proud of me." Her cousin, Peggy Riemenschneider Neinst, in Andrews invited Wyscarver to join her, A.L. Smith, and Walter Braumley who have been riding for years. Smith wanted to get there early as he said, "There are three things you don't mess with: a man's bike, his woman, and his place in line." The bikes travel in pairs and from the first to the last it takes about one hour to get them all on the road.
The ride started at the West Texas Veterans' Memorial at the Midland Airport with a short program of speeches, wreath laying, posting of the colors, poem, prayer, bagpipes, and the playing of Taps. Then the drivers embarked on a one and one half hour tour with police escorts through Midland and Odessa, Texas and ending at the Veterans' Memorial in Andrews.
Despite the threatening weather, patriots of all ages lined the route with flags, waves, salutes, and horn honking. "It was a moving experience," recalls Wyscarver as she tearfully remembered an older vet saluting until all the procession had passed.
Donned in a black leather vest with a large Marine logo (from Sgt. Grit) on the back, Wyscarver rode in style on Braumley's special made fire engine red Harley Davidson bike complete with the fire fighter emblem. In fact, Braumley rode the bike to West to honor his fellow fire fighters after the 2013 explosion.
As an unofficial Biker Chick, Wyscarver stated that there were all types and colors of motorcycles in the procession including three wheelers and spiders. "Each owner was as unique as his or her bike," Wyscarver continued, "but they were all united in their love for America and appreciation of the service and sacrifice of current and former military personnel."
Wyscarver has already told all her friends and family about her trip. "I guess I'm like my teacher/WWII vet Daddy who liked to fish. Every time I tell the story it gets bigger and better," she laughed.