CFF SOaR™ Team Participates in
2014 Veterans Christmas
Charity Ride 

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Napalm explodes behind a Cobra Attack Helicopter hovering in front of thousands of spectators at an air and ground show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base in 2009. (Photo by WSM)

Maggie, Celebrate Freedom Foundation's Cobra Helicopter

Maggie flies over the tree tops and performs a flyover as thousands below cheer at 2012 Celebrate Freedom Festival in Finlay Park, Columbia, S.C. (Photo by WSM)

U.S. Army Demonstration Team Cobra Helicopter

A U.S. Army Demonstration Team Cobra Helicopter roars past thousands of spectators attending an air and ground show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base in 2009.  (Photo by WSM)

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As thousands of spectators attending the 2009 Air and Ground Show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base, a Black Hawk Helicopter hovers as the pilot demonstrates the aircraft's maneuverability.  (Photo by WSM)

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Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s SOaR™ Team Participates in 2014 Veterans Christmas Charity Ride

Columbia, S.C. — Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s SOaR™ Team participated in the 2014 Veterans Christmas Charity Ride on Sunday, Dec. 14 in Columbia. The Team displayed CFF’s Cobra helicopter, Annie, as a backdrop at the event’s finale at Dorn VA Medical Center, located at 6439 Garners Ferry Road.

“This was our SOaR Team’s first time participating in the event,” said Bob Day, Program Manager for CFF’s SOaR™ STEM Education Program, Logistics and Title 1. “In its fourteenth year, this year’s ride was truly something to behold. Approximately 5,000 motorcycle riders participated. They came from near and far, giving up a Sunday afternoon to bring Christmas cheer to deserving hospitalized veterans.

“A veteran is someone who has served his or her country,” Day added. “Some veterans are now alone in hospitals like Dorn VA Medical Center, and they’re not sure what tomorrow has in store for them. But on this day, the giving hearts of the riders — the men and women, who participated in this event — honored all of them.”

Photos by Bob Day, CFF 

CFF’s SOaR™ Team participated in the 14th Annual Veterans Christmas Charity Ride on Sunday, Dec. 14 in Columbia. The Team displayed CFF’s Cobra helicopter, Annie (shown in left photo), so she could seve as a backdrop at the event’s finale at Dorn VA Medical Center.

This year’s ride began at 10 a.m. as riders gathered at the Carolina Honda Powerhouse on Buckner Road. Riders dropped off gifts and donated money to the help veterans receiving treatment at Dorn VA Medical Center and homeless veterans during Christmas. At 2 p.m., police then escorted the riders through downtown Columbia to Dorn where participants gathered for the event’s finale.

Annie was positioned as a backdrop for the gathering at Dorn VA Medical Center, thanks to CFF Volunteers Michael Young, Ricky Davis, Wayne Bowers and his daughter, Ashley, who transported and positioned Annie at the hospital for the event.

In fact, the Vietnam Era helicopter was a big attraction. Many bikers — including veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan —visited Annie. Some took pictures and shared memories about their past service and their memories of Cobra helicopters like her.

The Veterans Christmas Ride was founded in December 2000 by retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jim Wertman, general manager of Carolina Honda; Gene Royer, owner of All American Heating and a member of S.C. Gold Wing Riders Association; and Earl Small, Jr., owner of Carolina Honda.

“These three men set out on a path 14 years ago to bring Christmas cheer to hospitalized veterans at Dorn VA Medical Center,” Day said. “That’s how this highly successful Christmas Charity Ride began.”

CFF’s Project SOaR™ (School/Student Opportunities and Rewards) is an academic outreach program that supports STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in middle and high schools. For more information, visit SOaR.  

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