- - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

I have always felt that what Rolling Thunder and Artie Muller did, in forming the decision to bring the POW/MIA plight to the American people and to those in Congress, was a momentous task. It could only be undertaken by a strong leader, with tremendous assistance from like-minded individuals, to remind people that we would “never, ever leave a fellow warrior behind.” I think that mission has brought the POW/MIA issue to the forefront even though a lot of work still needs to be undertaken. The powers that be in D.C. never made it easy. They presented many roadblocks and tried their damndest to break our will, but they couldn’t. Old age eventually caught up to us all, but believe me, the fight will continue.

I began my journey with Rolling Thunder in New Jersey in 1997 and attended my first Ride to D.C. in 1998. It was an experience that is unforgettable. I made a decision on that day that as long as I was alive and able, I would travel to D.C. every Memorial Day weekend, and I have. In 2000, I retired from the New Jersey State Police and moved to Florida. During my first five years there, I led a group of Florida Rolling Thunder members on motorcycles to D.C. and back. Health eventually took its toll and I was forced to fly in, but I never gave up. I was there to help in any way I could, and if you know Artie Muller, you know that meant you never sat idly with your hands on your ass. These weekends have been like a reunion — renewing friendships and getting caught up on the lives of others from other parts of the country and Canada — but with one goal in mind: the plight of the POW/MIA and hopefully bringing some type of closure to the families of the missing.

Going forward? It is my hope that the many chapters throughout the country will continue to participate in local events and be a part of the activities to educate people about the POW/MIA issue and expand the outreach to schools and organizations. To never let die the reason that Rolling Thunder was formed, that being the full accountability of ALL POW/MIAs. As Americans, I believe we should ask for nothing less.

Speaking personally, Rolling Thunder has propelled me to become active in military affairs. I have become a member of the Disabled American Veterans and have been the commander and a service officer of the local chapter. There, I have been able to assist veterans and their families with their needs, which is the other part of the Rolling Thunder mission statement. I feel honored to have been a member of this great organization and I want to offer a “welcome home” to those who have served this great country. I will also continue to pray to GOD for the return of each and every soldier or sailor who has given their ALL for ALL of us.

Retired New Jersey State Trooper Don Schaible served overseas, including Vietnam, with the U.S. Navy Seabees. He is part of Rolling Thunder, Inc. National.

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