Over 150 engines revved up for the 10th annual US Army Veteran Jonathon Cote motorcycle memorial and fundraiser.
“I think he’d be pretty proud of how often we have done the ride how far we’ve come as far as big we’ve gotten and how much money we are able to raise,” Jonathon's brother, Christopher Cote, said.
Jonathon Cote died in Iraq 12 years ago as a private security contractor. Before that, he served four years in the 82nd Airborne Division. For the past decade his family has organized a motorcycle ride in his memory. This year is the first time in a while the airmen who served by his side participated in the ride.
“It’s been ten years since this group of guys has been together, so it's always emotional. It's like he’s with us doing these rides," Army Specialist, Kendall Hepker, said.
The ride is a fundraiser for two organizations. One thousand dollars is given as a scholarship, and the rest goes to Western New York Heroes, a veterans assistance organization. This year’s recipient of the scholarship was Hawraa Ahmed.
"I don’t think ill ever be as close as he was, but day-by-day I try to, and I aspire to be the person he was and emulate the actions he did," Ahmed said.
The ride was billed as the tenth and final one by Cote’s family, but another organization said it might be interested in taking over.
“We were actually just approached by Hogs and Heroes, and it's there favorite ride, and they asked us if they could take over, and so we may have them try and take over next year," Christopher Cote said.
The fact that another organization wants to take the reins means a lot to Christopher.
“They said 'we'll do it because we love this ride so much,' so that means a lot to us that if it effects people that much that they don’t want it to end.”
Organizers say that they hope they raise around $10,000 this year.