Disabled Vet Makes Bike Trip to Promote New Flag
|Ride Will Cover 2400 Miles and Go Through Washington, D.C.
NORMAN, Oklahoma — Kevin George Baker, a disabled Navy veteran, will ride his hand-propelled bicycle from his hometown through Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Marseilles, Illinois to support a new flag designed to honor fallen members of the military. His trip will begin at his home on Saturday, March 7 and will take 15 weeks to complete. Baker, who is unable to use his legs due to a neurological impairment, will fly the Honor and Remember Flag from his bike and encourage people along the way to sign a petition urging Congress to adopt the flag as a new national symbol by passing HR Bill 546.
“I was so impressed when I saw the design for the Honor and Remember Flag and learned about its purpose,” said Baker. “I decided that I could help spread the word about it.” The Honor and Remember Flag was created by George Lutz, whose son Tony was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq in 2005. Officially unveiled last Memorial Day in Norfolk, Virginia, the flag has gained national support from several veterans groups and the American Gold Star Mothers. The petition drive, which is featured on the Honor and Remember Inc. web site (www.honorandremember.org), seeks to generate one signature for every known American war casualty. Another goal is to present a personalized Honor and Remember Flag to the parents of fallen military service members.
Baker was injured while serving as a firefighter in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War when a Scud missile struck his barracks. He also intends to stop in Danville, Virginia to visit his mother and grandparents. His grandfather is a decorated WWII veteran. And he will visit Virginia Beach, Virginia to meet with Honor and Remember Inc. founder George Lutz.
In Washington, D.C., Baker will join up with a bike ride to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, organized by Soldiers’ Angels, a support organization for United States military personnel. From there Baker will ride to Marseilles, Illinois to visit the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial dedicated to military service members who died since 1979 including the Persian Gulf War and in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of a Gold Star family will transport him home to Oklahoma. Kevin’s progress with pictures and journal will be chronicled on www.honorandremember.org.
Kevin’s Proposed Route
Leaving Norman OK on Sat the 7th around 10 am heading SE to hwy 9 thru Little Axe, Pink, Tecumseh and onto hwy 9A thru Seminole and 9W to DUSTIN, ENTERPRISE, to WHITEFIELD, to Hwy 9 WHITEFIELD TO 271/59S to PANAMA, SHADY POINT, HOWE, onto 59S to HEAVENER,TO HODGENS, then SW on hwy 59S to BIG CEDAR, into SMITHVILLE, All the way S BROKENBOW,AND 259S TO HARRIS, AND CROSSING INTO
Kevin’s modified Cycle
Kevin’s shots along the way
|3-05-09 – Today we received our 1st images from Kevin.
3-07-09 – Kevin Begins his Ride
3-08-09 – Kevin biked south 120 miles and reached Gainesville, TX for a much needed rest. It seems his journey is already garnering stories as he has been detained by the police, partly escorted by Harleys and put up for the night by new found friends.
3-09-09 – From Kevin
Day 3 was a mess, had 20-40 mile head winds. Talk about a hard ride, I came across a VFW Post 1922, they were great and helpful as well. There were Soldiers Angels that showed up and everyone loved the flag. You should start getting more signatures from alot of people here. I got pulled over again yesterday for the same thing, stopping on the shoulder and got a warning. I should make it priority to start the ride everyday getting pulled over, HA. i will send pics of the great TX trooper and some of the people I have met.
I have made it to Sherman TX since Saturday.
3-11-09 – From Kevin
The temp has gone from raining and near 80 to raining and near 34 degrees. Honor Guard is going to come and pick me up from Sherman,TX and take me to were ever its sunny and just a bit warmer than freezing. Soldiers Angels Martha Nayman and her Husband are taking me to breakfast this morning before the Honor Guard gets here from LA. We are headed South towards the Gulf of Mexico, more later today.
3-13-09 – A tragic end
Sadly this morning it was announced that Kevin Baker’s journey has ended. He passed away peacefully in his sleep last night as God had other plans for this incredible man. He passionately took hold of things he believed in and pursued life with a courage and strength many of us only dream about. I only wish we could have shaken his hand in his triumph. Here are comments from those close to him…..
Keith Dixon – To all those who have loved and supported Kevin, I have some very sad news. We are just beginning to get the details, but it appears that Kevin has passed away. Again, the details are just coming in, but it appears that he went to sleep last night with a support family and they were unable to wake him this morning. …I know that everyone of you who have loved and supported Kevin would want to know as soon as possible. My name is Keith, and I am Kevin’s brother in law.
Rita Bostelman – Kevin was in the loving care of Soldier Angels Martha Nayman when he called his friends from the Illinois Freedom Run Paul and Susan Moreno and they went and picked him up. He had a meal conversation watched a little tv and went to bed. He never woke in the morning. Kevin was not alone he was cradled by the love of people who cared about him. Ultimately his cancer did not wait until Kevin could finish his mission.
Susan M. – Kevin Baker, the wounded soldier that was riding cross country to present President Obama with an Honor and Remember Flag was at my house in Vinton, Louisiana. He passed away this morning, I am sorry to say. He died doing what he believed in, and that was honoring our wounded and fallen soldiers. May he rest in peace now. His mission here on earth was accomplished.