By Aila Boyd

Members of Rolling Thunder passed through Botetourt County today on their way to Washington, D.C. as part of the Run to the Wall.

To celebrate their arrival in the county, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office and the Botetourt County Department of Fire and EMS gathered along the side of Cloverdale Road in Troutville where a fire apparatus and honor guard were posted.

This marks the fourth time that the county has gathered to welcome participants.

The bikers started out in California and will arrive in the nation’s capital in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Husband and wife Edwin Craft and Lynne Fouraker arrived at the display on Cloverdale Road early to meet with local law enforcement and fire and EMS workers and hand out commemorative pins.

Fouraker’s road name is “First Nav” because she does most of the navigating throughout the trip. Craft’s road name is “Wookie.”

The couple is from Georgia and has been participating in the ride since 2004.

“It’s an experience you can’t appreciate until you’re actually a part of it,” Fouraker said. “It’s just so important.”

She explained that as the group makes its way across the country, it regularly stops and meets with the family members of veterans who were killed or are missing. Some of the family members even ride themselves, she said.

Some of the members of the group stopped by the Veterans Hospital in Salem. The members also stop at schools along their route in order to educate local children about the purpose of the ride.

Craft, a Vietnam War veteran, noted that the ride is important because it brings awareness to prisoners of war (POW) from all wars, not just the Vietnam War.

Jason Ferguson, the chief of fire and EMS for Botetourt County, said, “This is our way to show support for veterans and POWs.”

Four firetrucks and members of the county’s fire and EMS, the Trouville Volunteer Fire Department, and the Read Mountain Fire and Rescue Department participated in the event.

This is the 32nd year that Rolling Thunder has held Run to the Wall.

Rolling Thunder was started as a demonstration following the Vietnam War and works to bring awareness to members of the military who have been killed, are missing in action, or are prisoners of war.