By SALLY SEXTON
At funerals all over the world, one might occasionally hear the distant hum of a motorcycle prior to the procession.
The sound is usually a sign of the Patriot Guard Riders, who show up to help out and support at various funerals held for military and fire or law enforcement officers.
“Anyone that puts their life in danger, we’ll stand for them,” said Rick Crabb, a ride captain for the North Texas chapter of the Patriot Guard.
The organization, which was formed in Kansas in November of 2005, helps out by riding with the funeral procession, placing flags around the funeral home or burial site, forming a protective wall against possible protestors and generally aiding all of those, including family, involved.
“There are several of us that ride motorcycles, but people have some misconceptions about us and what we do. A lot of people assume that, A, we’re all bikers and, B, that we’re veterans,” Crabb said. “We are patriots, just Americans from every single walk of life — single moms, people that drive their vehicles, young men who have never served — just people that want to share honor and respect.”
While funerals are the primary scene for the Patriot Riders, the group, all strictly volunteers, will also occasionally take part in community events, such as Memorial Day celebrations.
“The only issue now is that a lot of people are finding out about us and call, so we’re always busy,” Crabb said. “In the DFW area, I’m out there almost six days a week and I’ve been to about 110 funerals this year.
“But the remarkable thing about being at funerals is that it never gets old. When the family walks up to you afterward and thanks you for helping, and you know they’re walking away from the worst possible thing, you can’t believe that they take the time to come up and shake your hand. It truly is our honor to be there and share respect.”