WAYLAND — Sgt. Devin Snyder Ride to Remember continues to have the overwhelming support of the entire community.
There was a bittersweet atmosphere at this year’s ride to remember due to it being held on the 5th anniversary of her death.
Sgt. Devin Snyder was killed-in-action on June 4, 2011 in Afghanistan. She dedicated her short life to making her community feel loved and special. None of them will ever forget it. This ride is their way of saying ‘thank you.’
Sgt. Devin Snyder is laid to rest at the Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery in Cohocton.
On June 4 at 10 a.m. Main Street was flooded with motorcycles, and people pouring into the Wayland American Legion to pay their respects.
There were some highly popular sports items in the silent auction this year including; NY Giants O’Dell Beckman Jr. autographed poster, NY Jets Darelle Revis autographed poster, Buffalo Sabres Tyler Ennis autographed program, Buffalo Bills Jim Kelly autographed jersey, NY Giants Eli Manning autographed photo, and Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan autographed football.
Edward Snyder, Devin’s father, was in the US Navy for nine years, and was on a battleship called USS Iowa. He was in the Persian Gulf War and part of Operation Desert Storm. Natasha Snyder, Devin’s older sister was in the US Navy for four years. Damien Snyder, Devin’s little brother is stationed in Georgia. He is part of the US Army in honor of his big sister.
“Natasha and Devin grew up on a military base,” Edward Snyder said. “We all lived in Virginia Beach for six years, before coming back home to Cohocton. Damien was born here.”
Edward and Dineen Snyder were highschool sweethearts who grew up in Cohocton, and always knew they would come back to their roots.
Jessica Jeffords, of Colorado was Devin’s best friend. Jeffords was her roommate in Missouri and Alaska from August 2008 until her death in June 2011.
“We were roommates, had an apartment together, and did everything together,” Jeffords said. “We were all in the same unit.”
Jeffords told Genesee Country Express one of her favorite memories.
“When I was trying to teach her how to drive stick shift,” she said. “She couldn’t do it for the longest time. She couldn’t operate the clutch. She would stall multiple times.”
Jeffords appreciates the love and support from all over the world for her best friend.
“It is amazing to see all these people come from all over the world to support the family,” she said.
Jeffords has recently gotten out of the US Army. She served over seven years.
Meagan Oas grew up with Devin, and they were very close.
“We did indoor track and had all the same classes,” she said. “We graduated together. She was part of the whole group, and a phenomenal athlete. She was an outstanding student, and all around great person.”
Oas has come to every single Ride to Remember event.
“This year is harder than the others. It makes it five years since she has been gone,” she said. “We celebrate her life at the same time we remember her death. This is what happens when you live in a small town.”
Edward Snyder said one of the worst parts of Devin’s death is her never getting to know her niece Kinsley.
“It is not something a father wants to hear,” he said. “I won’t ever get to walk her down the aisle, or watch her have a family of her own. That is why we do this. We try to keep her name alive.”
Edward Snyder spoke to Devin on Facebook the morning of her death.
“She knew something was wrong that day. She seemed down,” he said. “She wasn’t suppose to be there. She was picked to go on the mission, because the guy who was suppose to go got sick.”
Edward Snyder spoke about the pain of having the ride on the same day of her death.
“This is the day we got the knock on the door,” he said. “There were two US Army soldiers at our door in full uniform. Once you see them knock on the door you know why they are there.”
Wayland-Cohocton coach Jeff Englert was Devin’s coach from eighth grade until 12th grade.
“This is a wonderful foundation,” he said to the crowd. “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for participating. Devin is looking down on us and smiling. She had a passion for law enforcement and veterans.”
Englert mentioned the family wants to expand and honor law enforcement and veterans.
“It was 5-years-ago on this very day we lost our beloved Devin,” he said. “We come to honor Devin and all those who gave their lives.”
Bob Fleishman knew Devin her whole life, and his daughter Mallory was very close to her. Fleishman provided his special Bob-E-Que to help with the meal.
“It was a tragic thing when she was killed,” he said. “My daughter and Devin did all the sports together.”
Englert added it is important to keep her memory alive.
“She wanted to be a trooper, so that is why the foundation honors law enforcement, but we want to expand our brand.” he said. “We want to touch more than law enforcement.”
Post Commander Kevin Mark pressed how important this ride is, and how you can tell the entire community puts its whole heart into it.
“This is another year to honor Devin,” he said. “In the future we want to branch out to other legions and veteran organizations, so we can turn this into a bigger event. We want to honorother veterans too.”
Some future projects may include Field of Flags and Faces of the Fallen.
“This is everything Devin represented. We want to spread our arms and touch as many lives as we can,” Englert said. “We want to make lives better.”
Wayland-Cohocton Central Assistant Coach Rich Saxton loved Devin, and knew her as a distant runner.
“She was the one I tried the hardest to get to go into cross-country, but she refused to leave soccer,” he said. “Devin meant a lot to me. When I first saw her she was twiggy, a skinny girl with long legs and big glasses. She blossomed into a beautiful woman. She was a tough competitor. I am really proud when she won a medal her senior year.”
It is easy to remember a person like Sgt. Devin Snyder and for as long as they have breath this community will keep her legacy alive.