WAYLAND — The sixth annual Sgt. Devin Snyder Ride to Remember continues to have the overwhelming support of the Wayland community.

Snyder was killed in action on June 4, 2011, in Afghanistan. Those who knew her say that 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 2, motorcycles roared into town. Riders crowded into the Wayland American Legion to pay their respects to a fallen hero. A record number of 350 people registered for the ride.

Genesee Country Express asked friends, teachers, coaches, and riders what their memories were of Sgt. Devin Snyder.

Sue May said she and her family are very happy to keep this legacy going every year.

“She was always such a sweet little thing,” she said. “I remember when the track team went to Florida for a competition. They all dressed her up, and she looked so pretty.”

May said that Snyder always had a bright smile on her face, and both of her girls grew up with her.

“All of the track girls loved her. They all grew up with her. She was so fast and dedicated to track and the military,” May continued. “Keeping this ride going is one of my passions.”

Danielle Bondgren said that Snyder made an important impact on the community.

“My kids are all here, and I want them to understand what it means to have someone sacrifice themselves for freedom,” she said. “I am always thrilled to be a part of this event.”

Bondgren recalls seeing Snyder get ready for her senior prom.

“At her senior prom she wore a beautiful yellow dress,” she said. “I told her she looked just like the actress Kate Hudson. She really loved that. She went with a nice boy from school.”

Dan Folts was available to autograph and sell copies of his first book “Shieldmaiden: The Devin Snyder Story.”

“People are really seeming to like it,” he said. “I worked on it a little at a time for several years. It worked in my favor that the family helped set up a lot of the interviews for me. I was glad to get some of her friends and fellow soldiers to talk to me.”

Folts added the thing that stuck out the most was that although Snyder's unit lost four of their own they still had 10 months to go.

“It was hard hearing about how they still had 10 months of deployment and had to handle their grief and rage right away,” he said. “They had to continue even though they lost four people. I had to be sensitive to the questions I asked them.”

Emily May Duffy talked about growing up on the track team with Snyder.

“We used to go to Houghton College soccer games,” she said. “We were always acting silly and crazy. Everyone on track called her Twiggy. She was tall and lean. Since everyone got a nickname that is the one we gave her.”

Duffy said that all of the girls on track became a family.

Richard Saxton coached distance running at Wayland-Cohocton Central.

“Here is a favorite memory I don’t think anyone has mentioned before. One time when she was running track the other team’s coach said to go after Twiggy,” he said. “She heard him say that and wouldn’t let it happen. She was a very determined young girl.”

Saxton said that Snyder always had the heart of a runner.

“We coached her from eighth grade to 12th grade. She was always a hard worker,” he said. “She was a great role model. You like to have all of your athletes be as determined and dedicated as her. She touched my life, and I will never forget her.”

Jeff Englert said some of the biggest wins came in Devin’s junior and senior years.

“She was always the one leading the charge. She would get everyone ready,” he said. “She had the heart for the game. She even told me in her junior year that she wanted to join the military.”

Englert said that it is impressive to have the largest number in the ride’s history, and that these people come out in force to honor Snyder.

Ray Loh of Arkport is one of those who has honored Snyder for three years on the ride.

“This is a celebration of her life. She gave her life to preserve our freedom,” he said. “I wanted to join the marines with my buddy when we were 18 years old, but I was told I had flat feet. My buddy got to be a marine, and I had to stay home.”

Loh chooses to honor the veterans by engaging in all of the rides he can in the area. Loh also works with the Dansville CASA, and said he enjoys helping people get their lives back.

Edith Jordan, the research and recognition project community development director said that the money donated to them from the Sgt. Devin Snyder Memorial Foundation would go toward helping Steuben County veterans who suffer from PTSD. Springwater American Legion donated $1,500 toward the cause. Springwater American Legion Post Commander Bill Morgan donated $500 personally. The event donated $5,000 to the cause. This is all about giving these veterans the honor and respect they deserve.

“The money we raise today is going to help treat Steuben County veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and it is completely drug free,” she said. “New York State has over 180,000 veterans and about 140,000 of them suffer from PTSD. There are still 40 percent that remain undiagnosed.”

Many veterans have come up and thanked them for the treatment to loved ones and other veterans.

“We need this all across the state. We want to help support the brotherhood and sisterhood. Make sure these soldiers get the treatment they so desperately need,” Jordan said. “We tell the story of Sgt. Josh Smith who came back from the war suffering from PTSD. He had wounds that he could not heal, and he took his own life.”

A  staggering number of veterans take their lives every day due to this illness, and the number keeps climbing.

“We want to wrap our arms around all of them, and give them this treatment,” Jordan said. “I see veterans from 74 to 23 years old suffering. We want to give every veteran across the state access to treatment. There are a lot of veterans that believe in this treatment.”

“This can control their lives for decades, and many have dealt with it for 40 or 50 years,” Jordan continued. “We need people to understand these veterans have the skills we need to build this nation. We need them in the workforce for our economy to grow.”

For more information go to www.randrproject,org or call 1-855-229-1428.