Warrior’s vision becoming reality

Published 11:45 am Monday, April 11, 2016


WOODLAND – Mother Nature threw a curve ball, but the show did indeed go on.

Canceled on Saturday, April 2 because of rain, the Sunday, April 3 alternate date was a perfectly beautiful spring day to kick off The Dedicated Warrior Foundation’s annual Spring Motorcycle Ride.

Ahoskie’s Zodiac Wheels, Potecasi’s Free Spirit Riders and Woodland’s Lost Rider’s motorcycle clubs as well as individual riders participated in this fundraiser.

Roger Byrum, Lost Rider’s Road Sergeant, said one of the motorcycle clubs main functions is fundraiser involvement.

Woodland Mayor Kenneth Manuel asked a prayer for a safe ride. The motorcyclists cranked their engines shortly after 2 p.m. and were escorted by Woodland’s Police Chief John Rupp and the mayor to Rich Square. The group headed to Jackson, Seaboard, and Boykins before returning to Woodland to complete heir 71-mile journey, all for a great cause.

The motorcyclists as well as family, friends and others sat down to a catered plate with a choice of fried fish or chicken. While socializing with each other they enjoyed listening to music played by a DJ.

Master Sergeant Michael J. Eason, the foundation’s director, reflected that a lot of folks couldn’t attend because of various Sunday commitments. He said several of his American Legion friends from Maryland he rode with couldn’t come because of the rain. The three motorcycle clubs weren’t out in full force and the Ahoskie and Woodland clubs had to leave because of prior commitments. In spite of this, SGM Eason considered Sunday’s event a successful fun day. He pointed out with pride the riders, cooks, servers, DJ, and others who came out to make this event a success.

“This ride as well as a September ride and two Captain Bobs catered meals monies will go toward our 9th annual Military Appreciation Ball to be held at the (Roanoke-Chowan) Shriner’s Club (located between Murfreesboro and Ahoskie),” Eason said.

Tickets to that event are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Besides the meal and music, there will be a keynote speaker at the event. Eason said family or friends can request an acknowledgement or recognition of an individual’s military service and achievements earned. This ball is a community event and everyone is cordially invited to attend. Eason says friends travel from as far away as California, Arizona, and Texas to attend.

“I promise it will be a good time for all and a night to remember,” he stressed.

Eason’s goal is to make The Dedicated Warrior Foundation a nonprofit organization. The foundation’s purpose is to contribute extensively to the support and welfare of members of the military by demonstrating exceptional patriotic and humanitarian services for all members of the US Armed Services. Focus on displaying an extraordinary amount of time, talent, and resources to benefit members of the Armed Services to significantly enhance the quality of life through various recreational and rehabilitative activities and events.

Besides the April and September Military Appreciation Motorcycle Rides and the annual Military Appreciation Ball, the foundation activities and events for veterans to enhance their lifestyles. Examples are sporting events and concerts, day and overnight shopping trips, movies and theatrical plays, fishing and hunting trips, cookouts, day spas (female) – hair, nail, and facials, drill and ceremony drill team competitions, video recording of special and memorable events and activities, and transportation assistance.

Eason stated the foundation’s work would benefit Northampton and Hertford counties initially. He is proud of that fact because he is a native of Woodland and his family lived in the house across the street from Dr. Stanley’s office.

“Doc was the my family’s doctor; I’m fairly sure he brought me into the world,” Eason said.

Eason also paid tribute to Carl Russell Britt of Milwaukee, the now retired assistant principal at Northampton County High School.

“He was my driver’s education teacher,” Eason said. “I was unaware that Mr. Britt was a veteran of World War II until I saw the write-up in the News-Herald about the France Legion of Honor medal he received just a few years ago.”

Eason also mentioned another France Legion of Honor recipient, Joe Dickerson of Murfreesboro, a multiple Purple Heart awardee for storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

“I remember him when he ran Murfreesboro’s Western Auto’s store; I got a bicycle tire there on credit which took some time to repay,” Eason recalled.

“Take a look around and you’ll see World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and other veterans of other wars and conflicts, some known but many unknown who could benefit from the foundation’s services,” Eason said. “For this to really take off, all it takes is a community response to participate in the catering and motorcycle ride events.”

Eason retired from the Army after serving 41.5 years with honor. Now is the time to address him as SGM Mike as the troops did and he prefers. Fort Bragg held a formal dining out and retirement ceremony Dec 5, 2015.

His roots are in Woodland where he was born and raised. He began his career with the Woodland National Guard as an infantryman. He later advanced in rank to Squad Leader, Drill Sergeant, Senior Drill Sergeant, Instructor, Master Sergeant, First Sergeant, and retired Sergeant Major. He has instructed advanced leadership courses including the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers Course, the First Sergeants’ Course, and the Battle Staff Course.

Prior to retirement, Eason served as Chief Operations Sergeant Major for Fort Bragg’s 207th Digital Liaison Detachment. He was the Commander’s Senior Enlisted Advisor. He provided input on Soldier readiness as well as the unit’s overall health and morale.

On an 18 month tour of duty from 2006 thru 2008, Eason distinguished himself by exceptional meritorious service to the United States as the 2nd National Police Division Team Non-Commissioned Officer-In-Charge (NCOIC) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). He commanded 300 soldiers, conducting over 250 combat patrol missions in some of Iraq’s most violent areas. The trained Iraqi police were somewhat infiltrated by Taliban terrorists which made friend or foe determination difficult.

Eason’s military accomplishments include the Bronze Star Medal (BSM), the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), the Army Achievement Medal (ARCAM), the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), the Drill Sergeant of the Year Awards, and various Letters of Commendations.

This past March, Eason was presented the Legion Of Merit Medal (LOM) which was approved by the Pentagon and the Commander-In-Chief, President Obama. This medal is awarded to Commissioned Officers. The LOM is rarely presented to a Non-Commissioned Officer. Eason said he was extremely proud of this honor.

Eason earned his BA Degree in Public Administration MA Degree in Education.

SGM Michael J. Eason has shown and is showing the makings of a dedicated warrior. He is still helping and serving his fellow man. Sometimes even the SGM needs a helping hand.

SGM Mike said to feel free to contact him at cell: (910)-528-5662 or at sgmmike1955@gmail.com. He said it was just a three and one half hour drive from his home in Clinton, Maryland to Woodland.

“If I’m needed I hop on my trike and I’m homeward bound. I have family in Potecasi and Como,” Eason closed.

But his biggest “family” are those military men and women, past and present, that fill his heart.