Late Berks County, Pa. SEAL inspires ride to remember
Reading Eagle, Pa.
Christine Vacarro of Perry Township says her son lived an exciting, unique and memorable life.
"Lance lived life to the fullest," she said of the late Berks County native and Navy SEAL. "He packed more into 35 years than most do in a lifetime."
Lance Vacarro, an Oley Valley High School graduate who lived in Alsace Township, died during a parachute training exercise March 6, 2008, in Arizona after 17 years in the Navy.
In his honor, the Temple Recreation Association will host the third Never Give Up Memorial Cruise, a motorcycle and hot rod ride, on Saturday.
"For any parent who has lost someone, they wonder if anybody will care or if anyone will remember," Christine said. "It is very uplifting to see the support and to know that people do care."
Saturday's cruise, which will start at Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson in Orwigsburg and end in Muhlenberg Township, will raise money for organizations that benefit military families.
"Last year we raised around $4,400, and I think we will raise even more this year," said Jim Hartman, husband to Lance's cousin Denise and coordinator of the cruise. "All the proceeds will go to Wreaths Across America and Naval Special Warfare Kids."
Wreaths Across America places wreaths on graves of veterans throughout the nation. Naval Special Warfare Kids benefits the families of the 22 Navy SEALs killed in Afghanistan after having their helicopter shot down in August 2011.
Cruise organizers plan to lay wreaths at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Lebanon County on Dec. 14, Hartman said. "Lance was an all-around good person," Hartman said. "He could get along with anybody no matter what. And this is to remember other soldiers who have died."
After the ride, Hartman invites the public to Jimbo's Plaza Hall in Muhlenberg from 3 to 9 p.m. to listen to live music, eat good food and honor lives lost in service to the country.
In remembering the dedicated life of her son, Christine Vaccaro is grateful, and she sees an opportunity for others to learn from his example.
"I feel very honored and blessed to have had Lance in my life," she said. "And I hope we can use this to teach younger people about the ideals of freedom."
Anthony Orozco / firstname.lastname@example.org.