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ARIZONA VFW RIDERS ESCORT REP. GIFFORDS

VFW Riders show their support for a dear friend

Members of VFW Post 9972 in Sierra Vista, Ariz. and the Arizona VFW Riders were shocked when they learned their Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, and members of her staff had been shot. To this group of veterans, Giffords is more than a politician. They consider her a part of their group.

Though not a veteran herself, Giffords has been active with local VFW members. She and her staff, including two who were also shot, are familiar faces having worked with them many times on veterans’ issues and events. Giffords even rode a motorcycle alongside hundreds of VFW Riders during the Historical Soldiers Relocation Project in 2009, when she escorted the remains of veterans who were originally buried in Tucson to their final resting place in Sierra Vista.

After hearing of the shooting, VFW Riders Arizona State Director and member of Post 9972, Dan Ferguson, was in complete disbelief. “It felt like I had been punched in the stomach, none of us could believe it,” he said. “We gathered everyone and asked for prayers for everyone involved. We feel as if she is one of us,” he continued.

The Arizona VFW Riders certainly treat Giffords as if she’s one of their own; they invite her to ride with them whenever she’s in town.

Giffords feels a strong bond with them too. Ferguson says every time she sees them, she walks into the middle of the group and says, “These are my guys.”

Needless to say, they wanted to help in any way they could after the tragedy. Ferguson contacted Giffords’ office and asked if there was anything “her guys” could do. Her office suggested four VFW Riders could help escort Giffords’ ambulance to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base during her transfer from the Tucson hospital to a Houston rehab center.

Ferguson and his fellow VFW Riders gladly agreed.

They rode behind Giffords’ ambulance and made sure she arrived at the Base safely.                                                                                                          

Now they keep a watchful eye and listen for updates on her recovery. “We wish her a speedy and full recovery and are praying for her and all involved in this terrible ordeal,” said Ferguson.

Once Giffords recovers and is cleared to ride again, Ferguson and his fellow VFW Riders look forward to taking her on a fun ride.

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