When they last saw each other, Tim Chambers and Sean Adams were together in the middle of 23rd Street in Washington D.C., on May 25, 2014, saluting fellow veterans who blazed by on motorcycles in the annual Rolling Thunder Run.
Photographers from several national media outlets captured the image of Oregon resident Chambers in his Marine uniform and retired Lance Cpl. Adams, who was wounded three years ago in Afghanistan, as they saluted together in the nation’s capital.
On Saturday in Buford, Adams and Chambers reunited to re-enact that moment. They also came together as part of a fundraiser to help Adams with expenses for special adaptive equipment in his home.
The American Legion Post 127 hosted an inaugural motorcycle ride through Hall County on Saturday afternoon. Participants included dozens of veterans, including Chambers, known to many as the Saluting Soldier from the Rolling Thunder Run.
“I’m glad to be here with (Adams) and everyone else,” Chambers said. “The special adaptive equipment he needs is not cheap. He lives a life of adversity, and because he’s a fellow Marine, I wanted to help.”
Adams, a 2011 graduate of Chestatee High School, stepped on an improvised explosive device Feb. 10, 2012, while serving in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. He lost his legs, and his hands were damaged.
Adams, who has since been involved with several local veterans groups and spoken to many about his time in Afghanistan, said he was excited about Saturday’s ride.
“The turnout was better than I’d expected,” he said, adding that he was also looking forward to next year’s event in which he would get to help decide who the next veteran recipient would be. “The Buford American Legion has been great.”
Chambers said helping out a fellow veteran is what he’s all about.
“My whole life is volunteerism,” Chambers said.
He added that when he first met Adams at the Rolling Thunder Parade last year, it was a memorable moment.
“I was in the middle of the street like I always am, and Sean saluted me as the bikes were rolling around me,” Chambers said. “So, I saluted him back, and I knelt down and gave him a hug. I said, ‘stand with me, Marine.’ He got in front of me, I put my hand on his shoulder and we both saluted.”
Added Chambers: “Today, we’re doing the same thing.”
The Rolling Thunder Run is an annual ride and gathering that began in 1988. Riders from around the country meet to pay respect at memorials and honor veterans. According to its website, the Rolling Thunder Run aims to “educate, facilitate and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members.”