WILDWOOD — Post 184 is proud to honor member Michael Kelly for his recent charitable service to the community. Mike Kelly is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, a member of Post 184, and Jr. Vice Director of VVA Chapter 955. On Sept. 7, Kelly organized a donation of a 2005 Harley Sportster 1200 with only 5,500 original miles to a local, young, veteran.
The donation started with a friend of Kelly, Carol Jacoby. Jacoby had interest in giving her motorcycle away and having recently become a widow of 23 year veteran of the Marine Corps, she wished to provide the bike to another veteran. After hearing of such an amazing opportunity, Kelly worked with Jose “Ponch” Gomez, a K9 Officer with the Cape May County Sheriff's Department and a sergeant of the 253rd Trans Company based in Cape May Court House, to find the recipient for the bike. Ed Ross, also a sergeant of the 243rd Trans Company and a co-worker of Gomez, was selected for his brave service through two tours of Iraq.
Ross is from Cape May Courthouse and has been a resident of the county his entire life. As a teen, Ross enjoyed dirt bikes and has always had an interest in motorcycles. Kelly knew this veteran was the perfect recipient of Jacoby’s bike, and the group worked together to pull off the reveal.
“When Carol mentioned she wanted to give her bike away I knew I could help,” said Kelly. “Just because I did not get welcomed home as a Vietnam veteran doesn’t mean the new guys can’t get welcomed home. Ed is a great guy and he was extremely happy and surprised to receive the bike.”
In addition to the help from Gomez, Kelly received support from VVA Chapter 955 member Deatle Piro, who loaned his trailer for transportation of the bike, and Vince Somma, an area mechanic who made repairs at no cost. American Legion Post 184 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 955 also donated a new battery.
On September 7th just before Post 184’s Pig Roast, Kelly introduced Jacoby to Ross and then presented him with the bike. Ross was beyond grateful, and shocked the community had pulled off such a great effort. As part of the unveiling, good friends of Kelly known as “Catfish” and “EZ” of the VNV Motorcycle Club took the ride down from Pennsylvania to show support.
“Ed was grateful for what we had done,” said Kelly. “I had even checked on him about three hours after the event and he was still in shock and awe over his new bike. We all hope he enjoys it.
American Legion Post 184 appreciates Kelly’s service to the community and country, and his act of kindness will be appreciated at the next membership meeting. “Veterans helping veterans” is a leading mission with the American Legion and Kelly exemplifies the qualities of a good member.