SEALs biking America stop in Poplarville

Published 1:26 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four retired and one active duty servicemen are riding across the country to raise money and awareness for the families of Navy SEALs who have fallen in the line of duty.

As part of the event, two boats and several members of the Navy Special Boat Team 22, stationed at Stennis Space Center, gave the men a special greeting that not only included snacks and a break but also a mini-gun salute as they rode into town.

The five men, led by retired Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Badger, are riding 3,300 miles across the country from Coronado, Calif., to Fort Pierce, Fla. in 42 days, he said. Now, more than halfway through their trip, they passed through Poplarville where local emergency responders and Special Boat Team 22 greeted them at the city’s park. By the time they reached the park, they had already traveled 85 miles from Franklinton, La. that day, and still had another 40 to go before stopping for the day at their next destination in Perkinston. They plan to reach Fort Pierce by Nov. 6.

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Badger said the men hope to raise between $100,000 to $200,000 to support the families of fallen Navy SEALs. He said SEALs have made many extraordinary sacrifices since 9-11 and the ride is their way of giving something back.

All but one man in the effort is a retired military serviceman. Badger said he was a SEAL from 1968 to 1973. Other riders include Paul Resnick who was a Marine from 1957 to 1961 and a member of the Coast Guard from 1961 to 1990; Bob Rambeck was a member of the Navy from 1971 to 1995, and Ron Watford was a member of the Navy but information about his years of service are unavailable, according to the team’s website at Badger said the identity of the active duty rider could not be disclosed.

To collect the funds, the men ask anyone interested in donating to simply text SEAL to 90999, which will add a $10 donation to their cell phone bill. More information about submitting donations or the effort can be found at the above listed website.

As the SEALs participating in the bike event rode into Poplarville, the Special Boat Team 22, shot blanks from a mini-gun mounted on one of their special water craft, which was on a trailer at the park.