WHITMAN — Scores of motorcycles growled away from the Whitman VFW Sunday in the second annual Sgt. Daniel Vasselian Motorcycle Memorial Run.
Chrissie Williamson and Trisha Griffith, both graduates of Whitman-Hanson were just two of more than 500 people who attended the second annual event June 7. The event was organized by the American Infidels Motorycle Club, a nonprofit group dedicated to the “promotion of the ‘American Way’” and passionate in its support of military members and veterans.
Vasselian, a native of Abington, was killed in Afghanistan in December 2013.
It was evident Sunday that small town heroes are not forgotten and that town lines did not separate, but instead gathered strangers and friends to honor the life of a young man who sacrificed his life for his country.
His widow Erin Vasselian and her mom Trisha Doyle were both among the hands in the crowd greeting and thanking guests for attending. Many groups connected as riders although others attended in support of food, raffles and vendors that drew in the large crowd. All were gathered in support of the Vasselian Foundation.
The Doyle’s own Cow Bells Café in Whitman center where her father David is owner and chef. He keeps a photo of his late son in-law on the café wall. There is even a special hamburger named in his honor.
“We have seen an outpouring from both our hometown of Abington where Daniel grew up and have been embraced by Whitman,” said Doyle.
“Erin is keeping busy. It is day-to-day. Sometimes it (losing Danny) doesn’t seem real,” he said. “But, she keeps busy and having the veterans group is helping her in support and getting through.
“Last year over 80 percent of riders who attended (in the rain) didn’t know Danny or the family and they came for him anyway. It is overwhelming.”
“The Sgt. Daniel Vasselian Memorial Fund was created in memory of the United States Marine, who was known to most as “Danny” or “Sgt V.” He was killed in action in Afghanistan on Dec. 23, 2013 while serving his third tour of duty protecting our country. Sgt Vasselian was posthumously awarded both Purple Heart Medal and Bronze Star Medal with valor.
The foundation will honor his sacrifice by assisting veterans, active duty service members, and military families of Massachusetts who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of unavoidable circumstances. The foundation also awards annual scholarships to graduating Seniors of Abington High School, according to the website mission statement.
A road race on Veteran’s Day in November will be held in his honor with money going toward the foundation. For upcoming events visit dannyvfund.org.