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FNG Story – Cheryl “Raven” Norman

Name: Cheryl “Raven” Norman
Phone: 830-688-1718
City: Bandera
State: Texas
FNG Story:

Wow what can one really say after riding for the first time in RFTW! There are many thanks to go out to folks but I will mention a few. First a special thanks to my husband Claude “LawDawg” Norman for his willingness to make this run not only for the mission but for himself and his own mission! A huge thanks to Greg “Pied Piper” Smith and his leadership and encouraging words of wisdom!

I remember standing at the chain fence at the end of the Wall Saturday and LawDawg said to Pied Piper, look what you did! His reply was something like ya I made a big mess. LawDawg said no you made this possible pointing to the Wall and all the people coming down the walk. Without Pied Piper and
Too Tall and the SR team it would have been impossible to make it “ALL THE WAY.”

A special thanks to all the Road Guard for all of your hard work and direction. The advance team, the hydration team. What all these folks do behind the line of sight make the day safe is just beyond words! A special thanks to Pocket for your smiling face and hugs each and everyday. You truly are a blessing to be around. I will also thank the chase vehicles for being there even though I did not need you (see I ride a yamaha not a harley!) but you were there in case I needed you and Short Stack I don’t think anyone worked harder that you did. I once saw a posting by Pied Piper that stated that if you are going to be a new person on the ride in 2009 it will be an experience you will never forget. It is an experience that you will never forget and it is an experience that you can not explain! I have tried and I just can not find the words to explain it. I need to also thank Mojo and Wicked for a safe trip from Weatherford TX to DC. Even though I had been to the Wall and to The Tomb Of the Unknown before this time it was so different.

I am not a vet, I am the wife of a vet that I support with all my heart. I also support all vets. I really don’t know what it means to a vet to go to the Wall, I see the pain but as I am not a vet I really can’t understand the meaning of going to the Wall. Not that I don’t try, I cry every time I go there because I see the pain in others eyes.

This year we went back to the Wall Saturday evening and went back to panel 38E where the name of my husband’s best friend is and as we walked away I saw a young girl sitting on the walk about 2 feet from the Wall writing a letter. I just could not bring myself to ask her whom she was writing to but it
touched me deeply of someone sitting in the dark writing a letter to someone on the Wall by the light on the sidewalk.

Seeing the folks of the roads showing support is something you will never forget. The vet centers is for me the heart stopper. When you talk to the men and women there and you tell them Thank You for your service and the tears fill his or her eyes. That is a sight that jerks at your heart and makes you wonder how can this happen, how can it be that in the last 3 months that I have thanked 2 different vets for his service and welcomed them home and tears fill the eyes looking back at me, how can it be that one guy told me that he had never been told Welcome Home before and I sat with him and cried with him.

Thank all of you that made it possible for us to make the ride this year. We did not go all the way this year, joining in Weatherford and going to DC however next year we will go all the way. We met so many
wonderful folks that we will never forget. We truly feel like we have extended our family by hundreds! We have been back for five days and I can’t wait to go again. A friend at home asked how the ride was and as I tried to explain the folks on the road, the schools and the vets goose bumps came up and I found that I just could not tell her enough.

What an honor it was to be part of the Color Guard, and what an honor it was for Pocket to as if I wanted to ride MMF, I did not as I thought in my heart that I did not want to ride in a place that a vet should ride in. So many times the tears just flow. We did give a few bandid for the heart pins out to folks that we felt could really use it. I know that many of you that were on the ride should have gotten a pin. Just know to all my new vet friend and family that I say to you Thank you from the bottom of
my heart for your service and for what you gave up in serving and Welcome Home, it has been a long time coming! An FNG no more, now just a babe looking forward to riding with you all next year ALL THE WAY!

Thanks to everyone!
Cheryl “Raven” Norman