The Freedom of Road Riders Local 42 and Action Riders of Franklin County invite area bikers to help create a barrier between Westboro Baptist Church members and mourners of Spc. Jeffrey Lee White Jr., 21, Catawissa, whose visitation is Tuesday and funeral is Wednesday.
White’s funeral is on the church’s picket list, but the visitation is not listed.
Pacific police requested help from the organization to be a nonviolent barrier between the Westboro members and mourners, said Freedom of Road Riders President and Action Riders Founder Rick Gish.
“If they start making a lot of noise, we will fire up our motorcycles and drown them out,” Gish said.
So far, more than 100 motorcyclists are scheduled to participate in the barrier.
“What Westboro Baptist Church is doing is wrong,” Gish said, noting that he is a veteran. “What our government allows them to do is totally disrespectful. It’s heartbreaking and it’s sad.”
Gish said it is important that those who choose to participate control their tempers and are nonviolent.
“We just want to make as much noise as (the church members) because what they’re going to be spouting out is detrimental to what this boy’s life was all about,” Gish said. “If they’re quiet, we’ll be quiet. We’re only there to stop anything they might do in a nonviolent way.”
Those who wish to participate in the barrier should meet at Mason Dixon Flea Market Tuesday, April 17, at 2 p.m. Riders will travel together to First Baptist Church, Villa Ridge, at 2:30 p.m. and stay throughout the visitation.
Bikers can pay their respects to White, but are asked to stay near their bikes as much as possible.
Riders will meet at the flea market Wednesday at 9 a.m. and leave at 9:30 a.m. Participants will join up with the Patriot Guard to escort White’s body from Villa Ridge to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.
More than 50 Freedom of Road Riders and many Patriot Guard riders also participated in helping bring White’s body home this past Saturday, April 14, in pouring rain.
Gish said he’s been riding in various veterans’ groups and organizations for 40 years and has never seen something so amazing.
“I’ve never seen the turnout like what I saw when we entered Pacific,” he said.
For more information people may call Gish at 314-578-6006.