EASLEY — Downtown Main Streets across the Upstate were lined with residents cheering and waving flags to welcome 40 Marines in the ninth annual Honoring Their Service ride.
“We are Americans who respect and honor the service of our Veterans and want them to know that we care,” states the organization’s website. “Our purpose is to give our community an opportunity to say thank you and to show members of our military — and our veterans — that we are people who appreciate what they do on our behalf, day in and day out.”
The ride is HTS’s signature event and is hosted annually in partnership with the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, for combat veterans from the Marine Special Operations Command and members of the Wounded Warrior Regiment in Greenville SC.
Marines are invited into homes in Keowee Key for four days of rest and relaxation.
The route, which sets off from the J.B. Red Owens Sports Complex in Easley, takes a winding path through downtown Easley, Liberty, Norris and Central before heading off to Clemson and Seneca, eventually turning up S.C. 130 to Keowee Key.
Around 300 decorated Jeeps accompany a roaring motorcade of motorcycles and trikes to escort the soldiers to their destination where activities like fishing, hiking, golfing and archery have been arranged to be enjoyed at their leisure.
“Honoring Their Service has proven to be a one of a kind Marine Corps event that could only be successfully created by people with a sense of family and community; people that take seriously their pride in country and citizen obligation to those that serve it,” said Maj. Gen. M.A. Clark, Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. “The annual outpouring of support has brought community outreach and appreciation to heights that are rarely reached.”
In addition to the Honoring Their Service ride, the organization also offers a family getaway program and care packages for deployed National Guardsmen.
HTS has also teamed with the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital to create the “Peace House” and with Purple Heart Homes to create the “Golden Corner Chapter” — which remodels homes for veterans with disabilities.
To make a donation or volunteer with Honoring Their Service, visit www.honoring-their-service.org.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.