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Bikers receive blessing, safety talk

Chaplain (Capt.) Nwag Bara performs blessings for bikers during the Biker Blessing and Breakfast in front of Wings Chapel April 9. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Chaplain (Capt.) Nwag Bara performs blessings for bikers during the Biker Blessing and Breakfast in front of Wings Chapel April 9. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 14, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 14, 2016) -- As Fort Rucker riders take to the roads on their motorcycles, post officials are looking to keep those motorists safe and aware as they take to the streets.

Fort Rucker’s religious support office held its Biker Blessing and Breakfast on the lawn of Wings Chapel April 9 as a way to provide Soldiers, civilians, veterans and other motorcycle enthusiasts fellowship and prayer with other riders.

Col. Allan R. Pepin, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence chief of staff, attended the event and encouraged people to stay safe and to remember to be thankful for the freedom to ride.

“I’ve been riding for 40 years and I realize that I’ve been blessed having grown up in a family of deep faith,” he said. “There are times I could have killed myself (while riding), but there was definitely someone looking out for me. I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger riding motorcycles.

“I definitely believe the man upstairs was looking out for that young Al who was pushing limits in every way,” said the chief of staff. “As we ride and as I’ve matured … I’ve realized that one of the true blessings of riding is going out there and being with your fellow friends and your team, and in some cases meeting people you might not have otherwise ever met.”

For Pepin, riding is a way of expressing the freedoms that have been bestowed upon all Americans by prior and current service members, and he said one way to properly honor those service members is to remain safe while riding.

“When we serve, we’re protecting our freedom and our way of life that very few get to have,” he said. “Let’s never forget that and never forget those veterans who laid their sacrifices and, in some cases, the ultimate sacrifice, ahead of us.”

Jason Farley, veteran, has been an avid rider for more than 25 years and echoed what Pepin said about riding providing freedom.

“When I ride, I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything,” he said. “It provides me with an escape, and it’s just nice to be able to get away with friends and do something we all enjoy together.”

Although Farley is an experienced rider, he admits that one thing he won’t do is take the road for granted.

“I know that at any moment when I’m riding, my time could come up, and even though that may be out of my hands, it’s still my responsibility to do what I can to make sure I’m as safe as possible – not just for myself, but for my loved ones, too,” he said.

“I do believe God is watching over me as I ride, but he can’t do it all, and I’m thankful and blessed that He’s given me the awareness to know that I’m not a perfect man and that I might make mistakes,” he continued. “It’s that sense of humility that I feel keeps me safe when I ride. I want to continue to ride for another 25 years, so I’m going to do what I can to make sure my riders and I stay safe.”

As the event wrapped up, riders were invited to receive an individual blessing for themselves and their bike as they lined up to leave.

“As you continue to ride, I hope that you’re blessed with some common sense that I didn’t have when I was younger,” said Pepin. “I hope that you’re blessed with a safe bike, that you’re blessed with fellow riders who you can ride with (within) your ability and, most importantly, just take care of yourself as you ride.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/166074/

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