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CHFD News & Information: TRASH MAN

Monday, January 31, 2011

Posted by Cherry Hill Fire Department News & Information at 3:15 PM
On October 15th Engine 1322 and Ladder 1324 met on the parking lot of the Ellisburg shopping center for a CHFD public interface program. The assignment form listed “ Fire Department to Help Welcome Home a Viet Nam Veteran” as the request for service. How can this happen?

A few weeks earlier, the local trash man was on his usual route. He noticed 3 yellow ribbons in front of a house. He wondered if the homeowner had family in the military. One day he doubled back when he saw a woman taking in her trash cans in front of the house. He asked her about the ribbons. She explained that the ribbons were in honor of the service members currently serving. Her husband had a special reason for the ribbons. He was a retired police officer who served in Viet Nam. He was depressed because he felt that the returning service members were not being properly welcomed home from the war. This brought back long forgotten memories of his own unceremonious homecoming from 40 years ago. Little did she know at the time, she was telling her husbands story to Shawn “ Trashman” Ewing.

Shawn had recently joined a group known as Warriors Watch Riders: A group of Motorcycle riders whose vision is to honor all returning veterans with a proper homecoming. The vision statement of the Warriors Watch Riders is simple. The Warriors watch envisions a day when “ every member of the armed forces at home or abroad is and their families feel appreciated, honored, respected and loved by the citizens they risk their lived to protect”. The group tries to give every returning veteran a Rock Star reception.

Shawn immediately went into action, organizing a motorcycle ride and greeting known as a Mug and Hug. Shawn “Trashman” Ewing put together 50 bikes and riders, Police , Fire and other escort vehicles to honor a veteran he never met. We rallied at the parking lot and put together a game plan. The ride began and we traveled to the home of Sergeant Slater, USAF. Sgt. Slater did not immediately realize that the rally in front of his house was for him. When he did, it brought tears to his eyes and to the eyes of his family. Sgt. Slater said a few words concerning his service and was with an honorable proclamation and was coined by the Warriors Watch Riders. 50 or so riders along with CHFD and CHPD officers shook the hand and thanked our local hero for his service to our country. This may have been 40 years late for Sgt.Slater but nonetheless greatly appreciated.

I thanked Shawn for his invitation to the CHFD.

There may not be a more noble profession. Thanks Trashman.