Patriot Guard Riders Upset About New Ordinance, Mayor Responds 3/17/13
CBS 7 News
March 17, 2013
MIDLAND-Thousands gather each year for the patriot guard's "Ride To Remember" event. They honor veterans arriving from combat with a flag-lined escort from the airport.
But strict insurance requirements under a new special events ordinance is keeping the group from honoring veterans--and they say that's what it's all about.
"It's something that you want to be a part of--that you take honor in,” said Claudette Waddingham, a member of the Patriot Guard.”
It's all in the rear-view mirror for now--the city's new special event permit is keeping them from honoring veterans.
"The process has shut down the patriot guard Ride to Remember," said Teresa Galloway, deputy state captain of the Texas Patriot Guard Riders
Until now all riders signed insurance waivers releasing liability--now the city requires 2 million dollars of insurance, covering every spectator and participant.
"We cannot insure everybody that rides with us for 2 million dollars,” said Galloway.
Galloway says they contacted more than ten insurance providers, not one will write their group a policy that meets the requirements.
"The insurance companies will not touch us," Galloway said.
Midland Mayor Wes Perry says the City Council will look at the ordinance in its next meeting on Tuesday, March 26.
"We don’t want to make it onerous for any group, the goal is not to stop parades," said Perry. "It’s just a misunderstanding and I hope we’ll be able to get through it and just right now that’s what our ordinance is."
But for now—the group is left off the streets.
"I can't believe that because of one incident, they are going to pull back from something they have been participating in for so long,” said Waddingham.
The group says it will still be able to take part in funeral processions -- they require less insurance coverage and those policies are available.
The group says it also has a problem with the 30-day in advance rule for submitting applications--they say they never know more than 3 days in advance when veterans come home.
You can reach the Patriot Guard at (432) 638-4475 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can be made to West Texas Patriot Guard, C/O Teresa Galloway, 7608 Florida Ave. Odessa, TX 79764.