Congratulations to Becky Winckler "Whisper". Becky has taken on the position of Metro SW Ride Captain. Next time you see her, Be sure to congratulate her as the new Metro SW Ride Captain
Periodically we get asked why it is so necessary for the MN PG to have immediate family invite to attend missions.
The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) was formed as a shield for grieving families back in 2005 - to shield them from a group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). We are not a counter-protest group.
The WBC obviously are not invited guests of the family, and therefore require permits from the community they are attending. Many states now have laws that "protestors" have to be a certain distance from any funeral. The PGR, as invited guests of the family do not require such permits, as we are invited by the family to be there to pay honor, dignity and respect.
It is necessary to provide due diligence to determine that the family in fact wishes our presence. It becomes extremely important to know that the invite is coming from immediate family (parent, child, sibling, spouse), or the spokesperson for the family (Funeral Home Director, or military member working with the family). An extended family member may wish for us to be there, but the immediate family may wish to honor their loved one in a more private setting and as an organization, we honor those wishes.
In the case of our military units for deployments/send-offs, we receive the invite from the unit directly, or in the case of a mass group movement, the National Guard Headquarters who coordinates with us for all the movements.