GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — If you saw hundreds of motorcycles out on the road Sunday, there’s a good chance they were riding for Billy Wilson.
Wilson was a Getzville native and an Army staff sergeant who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.
Calling Bill and Kim Wilson “proud” of their son, Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III, would be an understatement.
You can see it on their faces, around their necks where they wear his dog tags and spread throughout the community with monuments and parks named in his honor. Now back from a brief COVID-19 hiatus, the Billy Wilson Memorial Ride is raising money to support the Western New York community.
“He enjoyed doing what he did. He enjoyed training his men and we bring this motorcycle ride together and it’s people from all aspects of life who show up to support us,” said Bill Wilson.
Coming from all corners of Western New York, some are brand new to this memorial ride, while others are familiar with this 60-mile road trip.
“And then after the motorcycle ride, we meet back at A.J. Jurek Post 1672 for a live band and food for everyone and we usually have overall around 400 people,” added Kim Wilson.
The span of support for the Wilson family stretches through all different organizations but hits close to home with many veteran groups.
“We’re Combat Vets Motorcycle Association Chapter 196, group of combat veterans. We have a brotherhood, sisterhood, we get together to do group rides as much as we can. We like doing the Billy Wilson one — a local veteran, Amherst,” said Mario Cobo.
Billy’s parents say this year’s ride is even more important. After the terrorist attack in Kabul killed 13 service members, the Wilsons personally feel that pain.
“It’s just heartbreaking because as a Gold Star Mother, you know we know what those families were going through the next day. We knew that someone would be at their door,” added Kim Wilson.
Billy’s parents call him selfless…and say the way he lived makes him a hero.
“He was a very humble guy. He wouldn’t like all the publicity and everything, but sorry buddy,” Bill Wilson said.
For more information on the Billy Wilson Foundation and ways, you can get involved, click here.