WILDWOOD – American Legion Post 184 was proud to honor member Michael Kelly for his recent charitable service to the community.
According to a release, Kelly is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, a member of Post 184, and junior vice director of Vietnam Veterans Association Chapter 955.
On Sept. 7, Kelly organized a donation of a 2005 Harley Sportster 1200 with only 5,500 original miles to a local young veteran.
The donation started with a friend of Kelly, Carol Jacoby.
Jacoby had an interest in giving away her motorcycle and having recently become a widow of a 23-year veteran of the Marine Corps, she wished to provide the bike to another veteran.
After hearing of such an opportunity, Kelly worked with Jose “Ponch” Gomez, a K9 Officer with the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office and a sergeant of the New Jersey National Guard 253rd Transportation Company based in Court House, to find the recipient for the bike.
Ed Ross, also a sergeant of the 253rd Transportation Company and a co-worker of Gomez, was selected for his service through two tours of Iraq.
Ross is from Court House and has been a resident of the county his entire life. As a teen, Ross enjoyed dirt bikes and has always had an interest in motorcycles.
Kelly knew this veteran was the perfect recipient of Jacoby’s bike, and the group worked together to pull off the reveal.
“When Carol mentioned she wanted to give her bike away I knew I could help,” stated Kelly. “Just because I did not get welcomed home as a Vietnam veteran doesn’t mean the new guys can’t get welcomed home. Ed is a great guy and he was extremely happy and surprised to receive the bike.”
In addition to the help from Gomez, Kelly received support from VVA Chapter 955 member Deatle Piro, who loaned his trailer for transportation of the bike, and Vince Somma, an area mechanic who made repairs at no cost.
American Legion Post 184 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 955 also donated a new battery.
On Sept. 7, just before Post 184’s Pig Roast, Kelly introduced Jacoby to Ross and then presented him with the bike.
Ross was beyond grateful and shocked the community had pulled off such a great effort.
As part of the unveiling, good friends of Kelly known as “Catfish” and “EZ” of the VNV Motorcycle Club took the ride down from Pennsylvania to show support.
“Ed was grateful for what we had done,” stated Kelly. “I had even checked on him about three hours after the event and he was still in shock and awe over his new bike. We all hope he enjoys it.
American Legion Post 184 noted Kelly’s service to the community and country and stated that his act of kindness would be appreciated at the next membership meeting.
“Veterans helping veterans” is a leading mission with the American Legion and Kelly exemplifies the qualities of a good member.
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