WAYLAND — Sgt. Devin A. Snyder was someone’s daughter, sister, teammate, friend, hero, and for many of us she remains an inspiration.
Sgt. Snyder’s life was cut short on June 4, 2011 when she was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Devin A. Snyder Ride to Remember has reached its fourth year. For the first time they will have it on the date of her passing, June 4, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Wayland American Legion.
Wayland American Legion Post Commander Kevin Mark believes the numbers will increase greatly this year.
“We know the Moving Wall ride is on the same day, but anyone not going to that we would love to have them come to ours,” Mark said. “They are both for great causes.”
This year’s Ride to Remember will begin and end at the Wayland American Legion. For those participating in the ride you get a free breakfast sandwich, t-shirt, and Beef on Weck meal ticket with your registration. For those not participating in the ride you are welcome to come to the Beef on Weck dinner, and enjoy the live street dancing performances and music. Extra t-shirts will be available for purchase at the dinner.
Lucky Number will perform live across the street from the legion at the Quinlan’s Pharmacy and the street will be closed off for street dancing from 4 to 8 p.m.
There will be a silent auction this year that includes two hot items from the Buffalo Bills; an autographed jersey from Jim Kelly, and an autographed football from Coach Rex Ryan.
“This ride has grown into its fourth year,” Mark said. “We have ironed all the bugs out, and have turned it into a fantastic ride to help support veterans in the area and local law enforcement.”
“We have seen a steady flow of support over the past four years,” Mark continued. “It is a nice tribute to honor her memory. We continue her legacy for law enforcement and veterans.”
There will be a ceremony at the cemetery this year as well.
“Various people who have served or are serving in the military bring flowers to leave at her grave,” Dineen Snyder, Devin’s mother said. “The ride is about Devin, so everything we do is to honor her.”
Every year the Sgt. Devin A. Snyder Foundation has donated to the Steuben County K-9 unit, but this year they plan to donate to veterans.
Dineen Snyder had a few ideas, but mostly she would like to help homeless veterans.
“There are so many homeless veterans in our area, and a lot of them are female,” she said. “It is so hard for them to enter back into civilian life after being on active duty for so many years. It takes many years to overcome, and some never do.”
Dineen Snyder added that this will be a bittersweet day, but she hopes they can be successful enough to help other veterans.
“Two years ago everyone up at the cemetery saw a deer watch as people left flowers at her grave,” Dineen Snyder said. “After they saluted her grave the deer disappeared back into the woods. It felt like Devin was there.”
Dineen Snyder really appreciates all the support they get every year for the ride.
“It is good to know we have so much support, and people come out to help this great cause,” she said. “This is all done in Devin’s name, and it all comes back to her. She wanted to make a difference in this world. We want to carry on her legacy.”
Jessica Jeffords of Colorado was part of Sgt. Snyder’s unit, and Dineen requested that she bring her daughter home.
“Jessica will be at the ride this year,” Dineen Snyder said. “They were in training together, and went through everything together. She was not in Afghanistan, and was traumatized when she heard what happened. We requested that she be the one to escort Devin home. Jessica has become family, and stays with us whenever she can. She has stories of Devin we never would have known. She has become a special part of this family.”
“They (Devin’s unit) are a close bunch of people,” Dineen Snyder continued. “When you go into the military you don’t just become a unit, you become a family.”
The route will be different this year as well, Dineen Snyder said.
“We want to stay off the I390 this year,” she said. “It made us nervous last year, so we would like to stick to the back roads. It will be a shorter and more scenic route this year.”
The route will start at the Wayland American Legion, Campbell American Legion, Bath VA Hospital, graveside, and end at the Wayland American Legion.
“Anyone who has had a child serve understands it is tough,” Mark said. “Dineen and Edward lost a child, and Damien and Natasha lost a sister. We want to support the healing process through the legion and community.”
The Springwater Legion Riders are leading the group this year.
For information on registration, the ride, or the foundation itself visit their website at http://www.devinsnyder.com/ride-to-remember.html