NEW LONDON, Mo. -- Chuck Fletcher, 56, was a friend to many before his death from an automobile accident Sept. 1, 2008, and each Labor Day, those who knew him and those who knew of him gather in New London to ride in U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran's memory.
More than 80 people on 55 motorcycles arrived at Abel's Quik Shop on Monday for the 10th annual Chuck Fletcher Labor Day memorial ride. The group was led by the American Legion Riders Post 55 and traveled to Perry, Mo., crossed the Cannon Dam, then headed back to New London for a get-together hosted by riders in the Brotherhood Of South Siders.
"He was a great person and helped anyone in need. This is a good way to honor him and go out for a ride with others," said Richard Swon, who knew Fletcher from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 350.
The American Legion Riders had an American flag that was attached to the back of one of the motorcycles and waved in the wind as they rode.
"I didn't know Chuck personally, but we want to honor a fellow biker and veteran," American Legion Riders Director Shon Thompson said. "It also allows us the opportunity to support those who have served and are serving. This is a Labor Day tradition."
Event promoter Ann Gerling said it's nice to see everyone connect over the annual ride.
"Friends of Chuck like to get together and tell stories during this, and new friendships among bikers are made every year," she said. "It's a beautiful day for a ride, so that always helps bring people out for this."