11/28/2014

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Motorcyclist completes 12,000 mile ride in honor of fallen son

Motorcyclist completes 12,000 mile ride in honor of fallen son
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TACOMA, Wash. - The local father who rode across the country in memory of his fallen son returned home Saturday.

A crowd greeted Don Blanchard in Tacoma Saturday morning as he rode in following a 12,000 mile ride.

"I feed good," Don says. "I know Aaron would be proud of me."

Don teamed up with the USO and created "A Father's Tribute Ride" to raise money for the charities that helped the Blanchard family after Don's son was killed in Afghanistan in April.

32-year-old Aaron Blanchard died while serving in Afghanistan, leaving behind a wife and two small children.

Just a month before his death, Aaron urged his father to pursue his dream of riding the four corners of the United States on a motorcycle.

"You know, when he was killed, I just took a look at things, and, you know, I've been wanting to do this for 10 years," Don Blanchard recalls. "I finally decided, well, I'm gonna do it."

So, Don left Seattle Aug. 3 and made his way east to Maine, then down to Washington D.C.

"I went to the Wall. I went to Arlington. I went to the VA Hospital there in Washington," he says.

As he rode out west again, he found himself at times in good company.

"A lot of the way, I had the Patriot Guard Riders would meet me and ride through states with me, and so, really, I wasn't alone very often."

As the miles rolled under him, Don made his peace.

"It gives me solitude. And I pray and talk to Aaron. To me, its just a healing process."
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