Narrow Escape: Motorcyclists Dodge Tornado During Honor Ride

Duane Gryder, a seasoned Motorcycle Chaplain with Assemblies of God U.S. Missions, participated in the 2024 Run For the Wall®, a significant annual event dedicated to honoring veterans.

Riders travel cross-country from Ontario, California, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Gryder, who has been involved since 2005, explained that the Run originated in 1989 by Vietnam veterans aiming to raise awareness about those still missing from various American conflicts.

The ride promotes remembrance and community support, with spectators often gathering to cheer the participants along the route.

In his role, Gryder focuses on providing emotional and spiritual support, essential for participants grappling with PTSD and other war-related traumas. His presence has been critical in preventing numerous crises among the veterans.

However, this year’s ride was marked by an unforeseen challenge. On May 19, while navigating central Kansas on I-70, Gryder and around 250 riders encountered a severe storm.

The group faced high winds and hailstones larger than golf balls, posing a serious threat to safety.

The riders were caught off-guard, prepared for rain but not for a storm of such magnitude. The storm escalated quickly, transforming moderate rain into a dangerous supercell.

The winds were so strong they moved the heavy motorcycles across the road, and the hail intensified, causing significant pain and damage.

As the storm raged, the group made a crucial decision to bypass their planned route through Russell and seek shelter at a nearby convenience store.

This decision was fortuitous, as they later learned a tornado had swept through the Russell area.

After the storm, Gryder spoke with locals who confirmed the close call with the tornado. This conversation highlighted the unexpected ways in which the severe weather likely spared them from even greater danger.

Reflecting on the incident, Gryder expressed gratitude for the outcome and emphasized the deep connections and healing facilitated by the ride.

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