Armed Forces Support Riders help guide young soldiers to their new assignment

Group organizes 40th ride

BAKERSFIELD - It was an emotional day for some Kern County families gathering in southwest Bakersfield.  They were saying good-bye to their loved ones who recently signed to join the military.

Every week the Kern County Armed Forces Support Riders show their appreciation for our service men and woman, each ride helps young soldiers prepare for their future.

Joseph Adams, 20, spent an entire year preparing for this moment. 

“It’s been a lot of training. I’ve worked real hard to get myself in physical shape and mental shape to succeed,” he said.

Signing-up to join the military, Adams says is an honor and privilege.

“Protecting my family and protecting my country, that’s what’s most important to me,” he said.

Adams is not alone.  Andy Graves of Bakersfield is on his way to the army.

“I love my country. I want to be able to give something back,” said Graves.

The Kern County Armed Forces Support Riders are escorting the young men as they begin their journey.

“This is my way of doing exactly why we’re all here, showing them exactly how much we appreciate what they do and stepping up to the plate and going on to serve our country,” said Shaun Dawkins with the organization.

This is the group’s 40th ride and members say each soldier is like a member of their family.

“It’s showing that we respect them, that we’re proud of them, that we appreciate their service to our country.  They help continue to maintain the life that we have,” said Dawkins.

As these young soldiers head to their new assignments, they’re leaving loved ones with a simple message.

“I love them and just keep praying for me. I’m going to do my best,” said Graves.

The group continues its busy schedule Monday with an Army send off at 11am and a Marines send-off at 1pm.  Both take place at Panama and Stine, and the public is welcomed at any event.

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