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Second World War veteran honoured with special motorcycle ride


Hearing the sound of motorcycles at a Harley Davidson dealership isn't unusual, but the reason a special group of riders rolled into Winnipeg Saturday was far from routine.

The Canadian Army Veteran (CAV) motorcycle riding unit, composed of veterans and active-duty members of the military and RCMP, were in town honouring Orville Marshall, a 102-year-old Second World War veteran.

Marshall, who turned 102 on November 20, was given an honorary membership and a vest by the CAV as a token of gratitude for his service. Marshall, who lives in Selkirk, had not ridden a motorcycle since 1945 when he served in the war. The surprise event was orchestrated by his niece, Tina Stefanson, who reached out for assistance on Facebook to fulfill her uncle's long-standing wish.

"Uncle has been asking me for the last three to four years if I could take him on a motorcycle ride, and unfortunately, I couldn't," Stefanson said. "I put out a request on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming."

With the help of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts, including a CAV member, Stefanson arranged for a motorcycle with a sidecar to give Marshall a memorable ride. The surprise event involved about 20 cavalry and veteran members, turning it into a heartwarming gathering.

"I was able to take him for a ride on the motorcycle in the sidecar. It was a little bit chilly, so we dressed him up, and we all had lunch together after," said Stefanson.

Don Bertrand, a member of the riding unit, initiated the idea of making Marshall an honorary member of their group. The entire process was kept a secret, and Marshall believed he was just visiting his niece at work.

Marshall reflected on his wartime experiences, "When you look back, there were times when shells would land close to me or a bullet would go flying by. It scared me," he said.

Marshall loves the leather vest he was given, covered in motorcycle-related patches. "Beautiful," he said. "It's nice and light."

When asked about the secret to his long life, Marshall chuckled and said, "Behave yourself." Top Stories

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