Motorcycle club honors fellow veterans

By Stuart Hedstrom
Staff Writer

MILO — Since formally opening nearly a half decade ago, the Milo Veteran’s Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery has honored all who have served in the five branches of the nation’s armed forces as well as serving as a location for visitors to reflect on military service.

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CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION Ron Knowles, right, is presented with a framed certificate on Aug. 7 from the Dover-Foxcroft-based United State Military Veterans Motorcycle Club Chapter No. 2 President “Ripper” for all he has done over the last decade to first establish and then oversee the Milo Veteran’s Memorial located at Evergreen Cemetery. The club also presented Knowles with a $500 donation for the next site addition, a bronze plaque for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy to each be mounted on granite and placed around the memorial.


On Aug. 7 the newly-formed local Chapter No. 2 of the the United States Military Veterans Motorcycle Club (USMVMC) rode to the memorial to present overseer Ron Knowles with a $500 donation for the next planned addition to the site as well as a plaque recognizing Knowles for all he has done.

“This a project that we started in 2007 and I was looking for a way to spend the money we were raising at the country western jamborees,” Knowles said before the motorcycle procession arrived. He said an idea to put the funds toward a memorial to honor all veterans was developed, and the concept evolved to have the site be located at Evergreen Cemetery on Park Street to incorporate the previously existing monuments for World War I and World War II.

Knowles said nearly 400 pavers honor individual veterans, many of whom lived in or are residents of the area, who have served over the last century. Knowles — a Marine veteran of the Korean War — said the Milo Veteran’s Memorial includes a Field of Honor with individual granite monuments for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy as well as pavers engraved with the names of those who gave their lives for their country.

“It’s just an ongoing project, what we are doing now is the bronze plaques,” Knowles said. “I have one for each branch of the military. These bronze plaques are two feet in diameter, I’m going to mount each one of those on granite and I’m going to place them in different places.”

“They are going to be directional, so on a bright sunny day like today the sun will rise on this one to the east and it’s going to set on all of them but not take away from the Field of Honor.”

Motorcyclists from the USMVMC chapter No. 2, which is based in Dover-Foxcroft, and several organization state officers drove onto the dirt cemetery travelway and parked by the Veteran’s Memorial to greet Knowles.

“We did a charter party to raise some funds and we decided to donate these to the memorial,” Chapter President “Ripper” — club members go by their nicknames which are on their leather vests along with the club information and branch of the military they served in — said. “It came up to $500.”

Also taking part in the Aug. 7 ride was State President “Billy”, Vice President “Butch”, “Buzzard”, “Drifter”, “Hats”, “Mohawk”, “Northman”, “Smokey” and “Viper.”

“It was a big donation, much appreciated,” Knowles said.

Ripper said the club is comprised of honorably discharged veterans. “Our club is kind of like group therapy for us, we all lean on each other,” he said. “This helps us get together, helps us heal our wounds. A lot of us are combat veterans.”

The USMVMC provides members a sense of brotherhood and pride for having served and the opportunity to give back to other veterans and their families. Ripper said on Sept. 17 they will be taking part in the Sgt. Blair Emery Scholarship Ride starting in Lee, which is sponsored by the Wabanaki Warriors Motorcycle Club ( ).

“That’s a ride we like to go on every year, it helps out a Gold Star family,” Ripper said.

Knowles said he will often see Ripper at the Milo Veteran’s Memorial. “This is exactly what this monument is all about,” Knowles said.

Ripper said he comes to the site to think about his own military service. “It gives you a moment of solitude to collect your thoughts so you can go back about your day,” he said. “Hands down this is one of the best memorials I have seen and I just happen to live here.”

To thank Knowles for all he has done, the USMVMC Chapter No. 2 presented him with a framed certificate.

“This is a true honor and I can’t do enough for the veterans,” Knowles said as Ripper handed him the framed item.

Knowles, 80, said he has been looking to conclude his involvement in the Milo Veteran’s Memorial, waiting for a someone who has served in the military to take over the handling and maintenance of the site. “It really takes a veteran to understand,” he said. “I know we are free today because of these veterans.”

Ripper said the USMVMC Chapter No. 2 “will be taking over and helping him out.” He said club members will learn from Knowles to continue his work to honor all who have served.

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VETERANS HELPING HONOR FELLOW VETERANS The newly-formed local United State Military Veterans Motorcycle Club Chapter No. 2 donated $500 raised through a charter party to the Milo Veteran’s Memorial. Club members and organization state officers rode to the memorial at Evergreen Cemetery on Aug. 7 to present the contribution to memorial overseer Ron Knowles. Knowles was also presented with a framed certificate for his volunteer efforts to honor all of the nation’s veterans.


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