Honoring veterans one mile at a time
For 25 years Randy Duckworth served his country in the United States Navy.
Now the 67-year-old wants to honor his brothers and sister who served and also see a lot of the country.
On Aug. 3, Duckworth began a 4,000 plus mile trip around the United States that started in his hometown of Nocona and will get him back to Nocona on Aug. 29.
“I wanted to go see my daughter who lives in Virginia Beach and I thought I might as well ride my motorcycle up there,” Duckworth said. “My wife didn’t think that was such a good idea. Really no one I know that I told about the trip thought it was a good idea.”
Duckworth admits it’s a bucket list opportunity and chance to see America and thank as many veterans as possible. Along the way, Duckworth will be promoting a veterans project that will be constructed in his hometown.
“This ride is a chance to bring awareness about veterans affairs and to thank them for their service,” Duckworth said. “And bring awareness to a project we are building in Nocona called the “Nocona Military Heritage Plaza.” It’s half a block area. It’s going to be beautiful.”
Along the way, Duckworth has stops planned to visit with veterans groups and also companies that employ veterans.
Veterans groups and VFW organizations along the route plan to ride with him at times during his trek.
“First and foremost I want to thank every veteran I can,” Duckworth said. “I’m also trying to collect 500 names of veterans whether they are living or deceased to put in our plaza. If I have someone from another city’s name on the wall, he might just come to Nocona to see his name and spend some money in the city.”
Duckworth, is the president of the Nocona Heritage Plaza project, and also a former head of the Nocona Chamber of Commerce.
The first stop on Duckworth’s trip was Air Center Helicopters which is a government contractor and also charters helicopters and aircraft. Air Center Helicopters office is in Burleson and its hangar is located at Spinks Airfield.
Air Center Helicopters representative Neil McCready, who served a combined 33 years in the United State Marines and United States Air Force, gave Duckworth a tour of the companies’ facilities.
“I think what Randy is doing is perfect,” McCready said. “It’s the right thing to do. He’s honoring people who served their country whether they just gave their time or their life. To me, that is something near and dear to my heart, having served 33 years.”
Air Center Helicopters employs veterans as pilots, maintanence personnel and medics.
“We like hiring veterans because you get a guy that has had great training and has a great work ethic,” McCready said. “You get a good product when you hire a veteran.”
Duckworth was impressed by the facility.
“This is great,” he said. “Neil is a great person to allow us to come in here and visit for a while.”
If you want to follow Duckworth’s trip, he has set up a Facebook page named Ride to Honor 2018.