http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/08/09/warriors-watch-riders-support-local-vets


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - August 9, 2013

Warriors Watch Riders support local vets

Volunteers show up at every welcome home and more

by Isabella Ohlmeyer

At first glance, members of the Warriors Watch Riders may seem like a group of tough guys on motorcycles, with their leather jackets and bandanas, as they gather at the Shell station on Bernal Avenue.

But these bikers are dedicated to a greater cause: making a conscious effort to live with gratitude toward war veterans and those defending our country.

Armed Forces support group Warriors Watch Riders (WWR) began in 2007, with a mission to take care of United States war veterans and their families. Fred "Spike" Schau is one of the group's founders and its Northern California state coordinator, as well as being on active duty in the Navy.

"We are a volunteer service organization with 800 members who ride motorcycles and reach out to veterans and their families with honor, commitment and courage because that is what our troops are about," Schau said.

Every member isn't required to ride a motorcycle. While the most noticeable participate by showing their love and gratitude toward the veterans with their presence on their motorcycles, others volunteer by contacting the families of the veterans and returning soldiers.

About 90% of the group members are veterans, and the remaining 10% are patriots who, according to Schau, have "just as much heart as a veteran."

Lynn "Raider" Tross has been an active volunteer with the Warriors Watch Riders since 2007 and is not a veteran.

"I am very passionate about supporting our troops. It is important to the Watch Riders to show veterans that America cares," Tross said.

Among the most joyous occasions for Warriors Watch Riders are "Operation Welcome Home" and "Send-Off-To-War" events. Twenty-two enthusiastic Riders surprised Pleasanton resident and Army Chief Warrant Officer Peter Bui at Gay 90's Pizza for an unexpected welcome home celebration June 22.

"Bui was speechless. The look on his face was complete shock and he was blown away," Schau said, adding that WWR members at first pretended they had no idea who Bui was. "Then the crew said, 'Surprise! Welcome Home! We are from the Warriors Watch Riders group, we appreciate your service and would love to escort you back home after your meal.'"

The Warriors Watch Riders partner with the Diablo Valley Flag Brigade, Pleasanton Military Families, Blue Star Moms and the American Legion to ensure a full-hearted, warm experience for veterans and their families. While Bui was enjoying his surprise at the restaurant, WWR members and their fellow service organizations were at Bui's home with his family, decorating the house with signs and preparing cookies.

The Riders are not only there for the troops during positive celebrations but are also present during somber events such as funerals. WWR will also escort the body of a fallen service member home from the airport.

Army Spc. Matthew Pfeiffer, 23, died June 7 of a brain aneurism while at home, leaving behind his 13-month-old baby and his pregnant wife. Schau said that while the Pfeiffers are in shock and disbelief, they found comfort by contacting the Warriors Watch Riders to attend June 21 funeral services and to provide much-needed support.

The service began in Carmel, as police, firefighters and 20 Riders escorted Pfeiffer's hearse and his family to the burial site in Monterey.

"Saying goodbye is hard these days. As long as we can say goodbye the right way, it makes the healing process go by faster," Schau said.

World War II veteran Anastacio Gallardo died June 12 and his daughter, Tina Gallardo Webster, was appreciative of the Warriors Watch Riders' support. The WWR escorted Gallardo and his family to Callaghan Mortuary in Livermore.

"I can't tell u how much u all touched my heart," Webster wrote to the Watch Riders. "I will from this day forward always keep you in my prayers and keep u safe .... The Warriors Watch Riders will always be a big part of my life now."

Vietnam vet and Watch Rider "Friar Tuck" has attended 200-300 Operation Welcome Home and funeral services. Tuck said his presence at the events is healing for all parties.

"By helping these veterans, we are also helping ourselves. It helps heal a little bit of what we went through," he said.

If you see the Warriors Watch Riders gathering at their regular pre-ride hangout at the Shell station, don't worry about a motorcycle gang. Instead, Schau encourages passersby to honk their horns in support of their patriotism.

Comments

Posted by Member, a resident of Avignon
on Aug 23, 2013 at 8:25 am

I attend many homecomings for our Veterans. I was also at Peter Bui's homecoming. Spike Schau was NOT at this homecoming, so how could he have "seen the look on his face", mmm? I've also had conversations with adults and children about the homecomings and had many of them comment about Schau being a Vietnam Veteran. He isn't a Vietnam Veteran and I let all know that, but he likes others to think he is, which is a slap to all those who served, were maimed in some way or died in that war. SHAME on Schau for allowing his statement as though he were at Bui's homecoming! Homecomings and flag lines at Veterans' funerals are about the VETERANS. It's NOT and NEVER SHOULD BE "the Spike show". And as for Schau bragging many times about how he gets up in the middle of the night or never goes to bed at all to pick up a Veteran, to quote Sidney Poitier in "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" to his postman fatgher, 'you did what you were supposed to do, if you had to carry that bag a thousand miles.' Again, a homecoming should ONLY be about that Veteran and his or her family when they come home or are laid to rest. PERIOD.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2013 at 9:25 am

I am always made tearful by the committment of veterans for veterans. These Warror Watch Riders are the few who really know what it is to be a veteran, go off to war, and return home (most times to no support whatsoever.) The WWR whom I have met are selfless and there to show comraderie and support for fellow veterans. For those who are not former vets, we are fortunate to have their committment and participation in this effort. (I'm sorry to hear about the above comment/situation, but it surely isn't about that. It is about the vets.)

God Bless our veterans, past, present and future. We owe a debt of gratitude and oceans of compassion and support.


Posted by Oakley Mama, a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm

As a current member of Warriors' Watch Riders I must disagree with some of what "Member" wrote. If anyone is under the impression that Spike is a Vietnam Vet they're certainly mistaken. A lot of our riders are though. He enlisted in the Navy shortly after high school, in the mid 1970's. I've been 'riding' for almost 4 yrs and have never heard Spike or anyone else say Spike is a Vietnam Vet. I believe that when Spike spoke of the Bui, he was recounting what the WWR's responded to him when he asked about the mission. That and the mission report made by the Road Captain for the event. Spike always makes sure that riders get copies of any and all 'letters of appreciation' from families and Veterans that we've done missions for. Seems to me that "Member" has a personal problem with Spike and that's too bad. What Spike has done is make sure that our Veterans get the special recognition they deserve, be they past, present and future military. Spike isn't doing "something he was supposed to do". He volunteers his time just like the rest of our group does. He does this for his love of those who serve our country. "Member" I hope you feel better spewing that "clarification" or rant. Nothing like trying to bring someone down who is doing something noble. Big of you!!


Posted by Spike, a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

You are so correct Oakley MaMa, There is allways someone who likes to complain and point fingers.I really don't know where this Gumba gets their intel. I have never said I was a Vietnam Veteran , I joined in 1976 in the delayed entry Program cause I was under age,I went to Boocamp in 1977 when I turned 18.This Gumba can't even sign their name,so that says a lot about them.Its not the first time such gumba's have run their mouth .They surely can't step up and say it to my face,and there are a lot of those out there,All I can say to these Gumba's is STEP UP , I'm Here , Anytime,stop being a COWARD and hiding behind a Keyboard.And Oakley MaMa , Yes, I did get that Intel from the Road Captain about Bui, and I got the Pics too. That's the day I had Swim with Heidi, in the middle of being a timer , I had a replacement sit in for me while I went to Martinez and did a Navy Honors Detail , then came back and finished my duties,I called Trevor and asked him to Take over,cause the swim ran late.I got the report from Trevor and Wrecker.
So, GUMBA member , sit down , stop hiding and step up coward.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Parkside
on Aug 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

My husband and I are a member of Warriors Watch Riders and want to say that Spike is the most caring Veteran that I ever have met.

I do not know who this person is that wrote that terrible comment, but he DOES do homecomings at all hours of the night and he does sometimes over a dozen in a week.

I want to praise Spike for his leadership for our group, and I agree with Oakley Mama and Mary and I STAND UP A CHEER FOR SPIKE FOR LEADING US ALL IN THIS MISSION.

Sharon and Tony
Pleasanton


Posted by registered user, shadowbozo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

To Spike and all the Riders,

People on this board don't know how appreciative both my wife and I were and am at every Veterans event we attend. Losing a son in Afghanistan has been difficult. At least these people understand what loss is and aren't just arm-chair quarterbacks. Until you have been deployed overseas please don't comment on Spike and the riders. If they have other places to be, that is there business.

Thanks again to all of you folks. Your service after coming home is needed since this community has lots of folks that just don't understand.

Matt


Posted by bt7376@yahoo.com, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Aug 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

Matt
I couldn't agree more with you. I attend every homecoming that I can and have NEVER heard Spike say he was a Vietnam vet. As a matter of fact, when they ask for all Vietnam vets to come up, Spike stands out of the way. Obviously, this person had never attended a homecoming..

Bill