Community Rides for Josh
July 14, 2017
by David S. Morin
The roar of motorcycles filled the air on Flagstone Drive on July 8th as a group of motorcycle riders, Hudson residents and the police brotherhood gathered at Bay State Welding to hold the Ride for Army Specialist Joshua Keller.
On Feb. 11, 2017, Hudson resident Joshua Keller, a specialist assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 7th Infantry Division, was unexpectedly shot in the neck by a negligent weapon discharge resulting in life-threatening and altering injuries.
The community came together at this event to raise donations to offset the costs of Josh’s recovery and for future costs of a vehicle and residence modifications to accommodate his medical needs.
Hudson Police Officer Pharith Deng spearheaded the event to assist the Keller Family along with Bay State Welding where the festivities were held.
Josh, who has been hospitalized since the incident, made his first appearance outside at the event. A special transport vehicle from the Veterans Administration out of Boston brought him to Hudson with the assistance of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire State Police. A large round of applause and cheers were heard as he wheeled himself from the van.
Josh spoke to the crowd and expressed his deep appreciation for the support he has received from the community for his family and himself.
At 10 a.m., 250 motorcycles led by police motorcycle units from Hudson, Nashua, Manchester, New Hampshire State Police, Hollis and several military-related motorcycle groups passed under a large American Flag hanging from a Hudson Fire ladder truck and headed off for the two-hour ride. The transport van also allowed Josh to take part in the ride which followed the ride in the rear of the motorcycle pack.
The ride took the motorcyclists over to Greenville then back to Hudson where a large barbecue was held and a local band provided music. Many raffle prizes donated by local businesses were raffled off to those attending.
Josh’s dad, Matt Keller, a Hudson Police Officer, said the assistance from the Hudson community will go a long way to assist that Josh’s care and future will allow him to continue to work towards his recovery.
Letter to the Editor:
On behalf of my family, I want to take a long moment to give thanks to our friends and family that have provided us with their love, support and prayers as we travel this new and unexpected path. On July 8 there was a very special motorcycle ride held at Bay State Industrial Welding in Hudson. It was the brain child of MPO Pi Deng of HPD and was planned and supported by Rick and Bridgett McCartney of Bay State along with a huge supporting crew that made it all work including Dave and Sue Morin, the staff of Bay State, Chief Lavoie and many of my brothers and sisters in blue from the Hudson Police Department and many other agencies, Debbie from St. Mary’s Bank, Angela and Spyros “Ribbs” Routsis along with members of the Deplorables, FCRC, Patriot Guard and FARC riding clubs along with 250-plus motorcyclists and community members and all of the sponsors. What made this special was Joshua was able to attend for a portion of the day. This was his first “escape” from a hospital since Feb. 11. Also in special attendance was his twin brother Zachary, who was able to get a weekend pass from the Army in order to attend the ride. This event was a huge success and an even bigger milestone for Josh and our family. You all helped bring a smile and special day to a young man. You showed him in person that he is not alone in his fight. In Joshua’s words from Saturday and since he woke up in the hospital in mid February … ”the support is truly humbling.” Please remember, life changes in the blink of an eye. Make sure the people in your life know they are important to you.
You are all important to me and to my family and we thank you all.