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Actor, USO Supporter Robert Patrick Helps Raise Funds With Renowned Motorcycle Ride

Thursday, October 18, 2012

By Christian Pelusi 

It all started in 1992 for Robert Patrick. A self-proclaimed motorcycle enthusiast his entire life, he was able to buy his first Harley-Davidson after his career-making star turn as the Terminator-hunting Terminator in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” in 1991. A few years later, Patrick met Oliver Shokouh, who first founded the motorcycle rally/fundraiser in Glendale, Calif. in 1984 called Love Ride. It is now the largest, one-day motorcycle event in the world.

“I was like a bad penny,” said Patrick as he enjoyed a cigar at his home in Los Angeles. “I kept going back and going back.”

Then, “somewhere in the mid-‘90s,” Patrick and Hollywood legend Peter Fonda became honorary grand marshals, joining “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, who has been grand marshal since 1985.

This year’s ride on Sunday, Oct. 21 will benefit the USO, thanks in large part to Patrick. Patrick has been a supporter of the USO for many years and has traveled with other celebrities on USO tours to visit deployed servicemen and women, so Shokouh asked Patrick about his experiences at the start of the year. Patrick then reached out to his contacts at the USO and an agreement was reached in quick order.

Patrick has been a lifelong supporter of our nation’s military and an active advocate for the USO. Growing up, his earliest memories are of his grandfather, an Army veteran of World War I, World War II and the Korean War and a Bronze Star recipient -- “The American flag, Fort Bragg, holding my grandfather’s hand, seeing soldiers… .” His influence and family discipline gave him a deep respect for those who serve.

“I can’t believe how young they are and their willingness to sacrifice,” Patrick said. “And their commitment to serve. And their dedication to their job and their whole attitude. I get emotional thinking about it. It’s just profound. I don’t know if I’m selfless enough to give of myself like that.”

Patrick’s success as an actor has enabled him to take part in several USO tours to personally thank service members for their service and dedication to America. His belief in the mission of the USO, to lift the spirits of troops and their families, was the driving force behind him helping Shokouh to make the USO the beneficiary of this year’s Love Ride.

“The USO’s whole philosophy of bringing Main Street to the troops really works because I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve met some of the finest men and women America has to offer, in foreign countries around the world that are serving us and putting their lives in danger. And I’ve seen the smiles we’ve brought to their faces and the screams and the elation they get when they see somebody they recognize from a TV show.

“You see the reaction and you get it.”

For Patrick, the Love Ride holds a special place in his heart because it affords him the opportunity to combine his passions for motorcycles and helping others.

“Motorcycles are such great vehicles,” he said. “It’s just such a wonderful way to get around the country. You put your full-face helmet on, you get out there and roll around and nobody knows who you are. You can ride from one coast to the next and really enjoy America. They’re just beautiful pieces of art, they’re wonderful machines. Everywhere you go is an adventure.

“And you meet all sorts of wonderful people. And I think that’s the thing I’ve gotten from the Love Ride over the years. The passion, the heart, the genuine American spirit, the appreciation for the country. It takes a certain human being to straddle a piece of machinery and get out there and ride around and I’ve found that most of the people I meet that are motorcycle enthusiasts are really great people.”

Much like Patrick himself.

* * *

Photo captions: Robert Patrick, center, poses for photographs with Marines during a refueling stop in Ireland in 2009. Below, Patrick, right, and fellow actor Max Martini, pose with a troop during their tour to the Middle East in 2009. (USO Photo by Steve Manuel) 

Donate today to support our troops this Veterans Day during the USO’s "Grant a Wish for Our Heroes" campaign. 

Federal employees can help the USO fulfill its mission to support troops and their families though the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign. Please designate #11381. 

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