Veterans Make Annual Stop in Southern West Virginia

RAINELLE, W.Va. (WOAY) – Citizens of Rainelle continued the long-standing tradition of welcoming a gang of bikers into their community on Thursday.

About 600 bikers stopped in the small city to meet with kids and share a meal with the Rainelle community. The tradition began 30 years ago when the caravan took an alternate route to avoid tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike. When the city of Rainelle heard they were coming, they gathered on the streets to welcome the visitors.

“When they came off the hill and into town, they thought they were interrupting a parade,” said Navy veteran Ken Ward. “They didn’t realize that the townspeople had set up the parade for them.”

The bikers make the trip every year to see the war memorials in Washington D.C. One biker shared that he rides to remember those who were taken as prisoners of war.

Watch the video for the full story.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at