November 28, 2022

Matthew Blount Post 555 Memorial Ride for Wreaths Across America – Shelby County Reporter

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special for the journalist

PELHAM- Several motorcycles and other vehicles roamed the streets of Pelham on Saturday, September 19, during the annual Matthew Blount American Legion Post 555 Memorial Ride to raise money for Wreaths Across America.

The event is held annually on the Saturday closest to the post’s namesake, Matthew Blount’s birthday. Blount served in the military as a doctor before passing away due to complications from a rare form of cancer.

According to Post Commander Barry Blount, father of Matthew Blount, this annual hike is a mark of respect not only for his son, but for all who have served. The money will go to Wreath’s Across America, which honors veterans buried at the National Cemetery by laying wreaths at their graves.

“We do it out of respect for the guys who gave their lives,” Blount explained. “It’s one of the biggest events they have at the National Cemetery. If we can continue to lay a wreath on every grave, it’s so gratifying to see these people spending time with their loved ones.

The participants met on Saturday around noon at the Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson, which hosted the event. Blount said many of the riders were actually on Harley Davidson motorcycles, and he jokingly described himself as a Honda rider.

The caravan ended up leaving around 1 p.m. after all registration was complete and they made their first stop at the Alabama National Cemetery for a short program.

For Blount, the cemetery has special meaning because his son is buried there, and he wanted to honor his son’s incredible accomplishments. This was also the case for many families who also participated in the hike.

“Our first stop was at the National Cemetery, and we’re laying flowers at Matt’s grave. My mom and her mom did it and we say thank you to her,” Blount explained. “To be who he was, he always cared not just for American soldiers, but for the enemy. His goal was to save lives, not take lives.

After leaving the cemetery, the riders finally made their way to Beef O’Brady’s in Helena, where everyone gathered to remember their lost loved ones and to show respect to all who serve and have served in the ‘army.

Central to all the celebration and remembrance was a main theme of respect.

“We do it out of respect for the guys who gave their lives,” Blount explained. “They gave part of their life for the country. And it’s a respect that we do every year for those veterans there and their families.

Blount said when he started the job, the main reason was to pursue what he said was Matthew’s mission statement in life: “to do business”.