WHAT “Who are the Patriot Guard Riders?,” a presentation by John Davis
WHERE Kent County Public Library
WHEN 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 16
INFO Call 698-6440

WHAT “Authors and Audiences,” meet & greet/book signing
WHERE Kent County Public Library
WHEN 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 26
INFO Call 698-6440

Local author John Davis joined the Patriot Guard Riders in 2006 and has been chronicling his journey with the organization ever since.

The Patriot Guard Riders is an organization originally formed to help comfort families during the funerals of fallen soldiers that were being picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church, an unaffiliated Baptist church known for preaching anti-homosexual views.

Davis, who resides in Dover, first learned about the organization while attending the annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom motorcycle ride. Davis returned to Delaware and got connected with the local chapter, which now includes roughly 400 members, and began attending funerals of fallen soldiers. At the funerals the Patriot Guard Riders position themselves between the funeral gatherers and the protestors.

“If the protestors should start chanting or calling out we just start up our motorcycles to drown them out so the families have some type of privacy,” Davis said.

Local Patriot Guard Riders members only attend funerals at the request of the families of the fallen soldiers.

The group also attends funeral services of fallen soldiers and lines up outside holding flags, escorts the bodies of Vietnam- and World War II-era vets and escorts families of fallen soldiers from Dover Air Force Base to burial sites.

“The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that the families appreciate the support,” Davis said.

Davis estimates he’s ridden roughly 160 missions since joining the organization. He is also now a ride captain.

Davis said he’s never been one to keep a journal, but when he began going on missions, he wanted a way to remember each one, so he began to keep a log. Davis’ journals have been published as a series of books, which include a list of all the missions ridden in a year, pictures and programs from funeral services.

The Kent County Public Library will feature Davis’ work in two upcoming events. He will make a solo presentation about his books on Wednesday, April 16.

“I’ll be explaining who we are, what we do, how we came about and how the books came about,” Davis said.

The Kent County Library will hosthost an Authors and Audience event on Saturday, April 26, in which Davis will take part. The event allows several local authors to gather, display their books and interact with the public. The event is a way to feature local authors, said Kristi Rinkenberg, program coordinator for the Kent County Library.

“It’s a chance for us to promote several authors at the same time,” Rinkenber said. “It gives the authors a venue to reach out to the community.”