The Small City of Canal Fulton, Ohio


The small city of Canal Fulton, Ohio, rolled out the “red carpet” and flag waving crowds swelled along the streets in anticipation.  May 17, 2009 was an exciting day in the communities along the historic Ohio & Erie Canal for it marked the launch of an annual event to honor Ohio’s Veterans, the first Run to the Ohio Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Bundled against the frosty May morning, many riding for hours, the motorcycle riders began arriving from all over Ohio and surrounding states.  Beside the Canal Boat, St. Helena Heritage Park was rapidly swelling to the seams as over 1000 riders assembled for the occasion.

The vision of one Vietnam Veteran, Luke Patrino, was about to make its heart wrenching debut.  Vehicles of every imaginable type with riders of every age and from all walks of life commingled with locals waiting for the pilgrimage to begin.

The massive group began to “light ‘em up” with Mayor John Grogan and Road Captain, Luke Patrino taking the lead behind the motorcycles of the Ohio State Highway Patrol escort.  Aided by law enforcement from all surrounding communities the intersections were cordoned off as the “run” began moving through the crowd lined streets towards the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Park.

As they rolled into the park itself, the contingency was joined by 700 riders from the north awaiting their arrival.  Together, with another approximately 5,000 folks, they dedicated the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall.  It is safe to say there was not a dry eye there as the long overdue honor to the 3,095, from Ohio, who lost their lives in Southeast Asia, while in service to their country, began.

In the short span of 90 days, the nearly 2000 riders had come together to honor our fallen warriors.  In the immediate months following the first annual run to the wall, Veteran’s representing all Ohio organizations began planning the second run to take place July 24 and 25, 2010.

The expanded two day event will be hosted at Clays Park, Canal Fulton, Oh., where all day and evening activities include food, vendors, live entertainment and Veterans Support Groups displays.

Two programs are planned on July 24th at the Ohio Vietnam Veterans Memorial, ceremonies from 2:00 to 3:00 pm and a Candlelight Vigil at 7:00 pm.

And, oh yes, the flags will again be waving.

For details and on-line registration see

Author Details
Jim Davis is the son of USMC MGySgt. Lesley Davis (Ret.) who passed away on April 24, 2006 from ALS caused by Agent Orange. His dad’s mission before he passed on was to insure all veterans, spouses, children and widows all received the benefits, medical care and attention and proper facilities from the VA. Because of the promise made to his dad to carry on the mission, in May 2006 Davis began as a one man show sending out 535 letters every single week to all members of Congress requesting and politely demanding the fulfill their promises made over the past decades to care for life those who wore the uniform and their families. Veterans-For-Change was born in August 2006 with a very small membership of 25 people composed of veterans, spouses, widows, family members and friends and to date continues to grow. Mission Statement for Veterans-For-Change A Veterans Advocacy and Assistance Organization. The purpose of Veterans-For-Change is to make major changes in the treatment and rights for all veterans. In benefits claims, appeals, medical care and treatment, VA Facilities, PTSD, Agent Orange, POW & MIA recoveries, diabetes, TBI and dioxins. Members combine their talents, information, ideas and suggestion and contribute to a monthly letter that’s sent to all 535 members of Congress expressing the concerns over various issues and offers possible solutions. This is in an effort to make change within the VA system, to streamline, expedite and insure claims are honored to the best possible rating, to insure all medical facilities are using the best equipment in the most modernized facilities with a properly trained and fully licensed and compassionate medical staff. Additionally we circulate petitions for various pieces of legislation to promote their being presented on the floor and voted on. We conduct research, develop ideas, solutions, and programs and do our best to make sure they’re put into action. We also provide guidance and assistance to veterans, spouses, their children and widows with their claims and appeals and the support of all veterans who seek assistance. We must guarantee the rights of every single veteran and gain the rights and benefits promised! To become a member please go to: Yahoo Group Veterans-For-Change
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