ROGERS, Ark. — Bikes, Blues & BBQ is in full swing with thousands of bikers from across the country in Rogers for the annual rally. One group of riders is showing gratitude to families who have lost loved ones.
The Gold Star Ride Foundation uses motorcycles to ride all across the country to visit and honor gold star families, who are the immediate family members of military members who have lost their life while serving our country.
"All gold star families, they are given the task of carrying an incredibly heavy burden forever," said executive director Anthony Price.
Price set off on the foundation’s first ride in 2018 and since then he’s visited more than 450 families in 48 states at least four times each. They do what the fallen hero would have done if they were still around to help their family.
"Forever they have to remember they lost somebody in the military and our primary job is for at least a day, we are going to help them carry that load," he said.
At Bikes, Blues & BBQ, the Gold Star Ride Foundation is raising money and awareness. Price also met with a local gold star mom, Jill Stephenson, who lost her son, Corporal Ben Kopp.
"He was a true American patriot who was willing to die for his country," she said.
Stephenson says her son became an Army Ranger out of high school to honor his grandfather and "get revenge" for 911. He served his country for three years before his death.
"I just surpassed the 13th anniversary of my son’s passing," she said. "It means a lot to know our sons have not been forgotten, that there is not just one person that is remembering and honoring them but an entire organization and they come in droves. It means the world."
Price has written a book about his visits with gold star families called "Yours, Very Sincerely and Respectfully." The proceeds from the book go back to the foundation, so it can continue its mission.
"Every day I get to find people like Jill and help them carry the load for a minute or two," he said. "What I do is very very insignificant to what she has to go through and what they have to go through. That’s what gets me to sleep at night because I know that there is another family that I’ve helped."
Click here for more information about the foundation and its mission to help grieving families.
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