The Staten Island chapter of the non-profit organization which supports military veterans paid special tribute to one of their own Sunday at their annual three-borough ride. NY1’s Jared Smith filed the following report.
You might have heard them rolling through your neighborhood.
The Staten Island chapter of Rolling Thunder roared through its 13th annual three-borough ride on Sunday. They started their engines at the West Shore Little league and more than 500 motorcycles revved up to support the disabled and deceased veterans of America.
This year's event had the highest turnout in chapter history, but there was one noticeable absence. Frank Appice, the chairman and mentor of Rolling Thunder Chapter 2. He died of lung cancer earlier this year.
"Frankie is an icon in the motorcycle community, and the fact that they've turned out in mass to honor Frank and pay homage to him, to me is an honor, I'm humbled by it," said chapter president Michael Garguilo.
Four generations of the Appice family joined the ride Sunday including Frank's widow, his children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.
"This is family, so me being his son, these are all of his children, he meant the world to us," said Frank’s son Billy Lee.
“It means a lot to me because my grandfather was very successful in life and he created this,” said Frank’s granddaughter Francesca.
It’s called a three-borough run for a reason. The ride begins here on Staten Island, through Brooklyn and into Manhattan, past the U.S.S. Intrepid, which is the boat Frank served on during the Korean War.
“We ride for him today. Today we ride for my dad," said Billy Lee.
“Thanks to him and his foundation that he built, we were able to give almost 100-thousand dollars to the D-A-V over the course of the last 13 years," said Frank’s son-in-law Vincent Permo.
The Staten Island chapter of Rolling Thunder is the largest of six chapters throughout the state of New York. Several of the over 90 nation-wide chapters of the organization including riders from Florida and Ohio, turned out for Sunday's event. They say Frank is with them in spirit, continuing his mission to honor our nation's veterans.