Veterans motorcycle group saves neighborhood park


by JANET KIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JanetKimK5

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 6:37 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- It's a group normally recognized by their leather jackets, beards, and Harley Davidson motorcycles. But on this Memorial Day, the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Motorcycle Club showed off their hearts.

At the Washington state capitol, symbols that say Memorial Day are the way of life for one group of vets.

"This is a time that I can come and show my love for my brothers and dedication for my brothers who are passed," said Vietnam Veteran Allen Arthur.

Arthur knows he's one of the lucky ones. He got to come home when so many others didn't. 

"Sometimes you come back and you look again, and you see a name that you didn't see before," he said as he looked at the Vietnam War Memorial Wall at the capitol.

It's why he and the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Motorcycle Club are taking their bikes somewhere new this year. From Olympia to a neighborhood park in Tacoma, this brotherhood stepped up when a VFW chapter could no longer care for the Ray C. Roberts Memorial Park, also referred to as the Tom Schuster Memorial Park.

"It's a veteran's park and it's Memorial Day. What better day of the year to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcome the community back into something that has been forgotten about on Memorial Day," said Thomas Johnson, one of the club's leaders.

As the park's new stewards, the group has already put time and effort into the restoration.

"I think it definitely sends a message to the community; it doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, vet or not, male or woman, child or adult; if that's your community, you have to take pride in it," said Johnson.

It's the least they could do in honor of those who couldn't join them.

The City of Tacoma also put $55,000 into the restoration of this park. The city and the vets hope to make even more changes soon, including the addition of more names.