MOTORCYCLE RIDE

Despite being 97 years old, Bernice Weltha of Clear Fork Assisted Living and Memory Care is a lively, active resident with an infectious laugh, a great sense of humor - and a serious love of motorcycles. It all began in Wichita, Kansas sometime in the 1970s when she and her husband Reuben purchased a 125 PUCH from the Sears catalog. It didn’t take long for them to realize that this was the beginning of a mutual, lifelong love affair with bikes. Soon after, the dynamic duo graduated to the bigger, bright-red, Honda Dream, followed by other, even better bikes like the Honda Goldwing, the BMW SS0CC, and several more BMWs. These motorcycles were more than just cool rides to Bernice and Reuben - they encouraged the couple’s sense of adventure and provided a thriving community full of other enthusiasts to which they could belong. The couple spent much of their 65 years together on the road and at bike rallies, traveling all over the United States and even to Canada. When Bernice moved in as one of Clear Fork’s first residents in January 2017, it was clear that her motorcycle adventure days were over. But her love for bikes never wavered. That’s why when the Clear Fork staff began to plan her My Miracle Moment, there was never any question of the theme. Bernice was going to have her very own “bike rally,” Clear Fork style. Clear Fork partnered with both Bernice’s family and HonorBound Motorcycle Ministry - as well as several other local bike enthusiasts - to make it all happen. The staff set up a table and a slideshow in the foyer, both full of pictures and memories from Bernice and Reuben’s “glory days.” Bernice’s son, Lee, flew in from New York just for this special event. Her daughter, Loann, even brought Bernice some tattoo sleeves to wear. Then, it was time. In a parking lot pulsing with the thundering growls of various bikes and trikes, Bernice excitedly climbed on the back of a motorcycle for the first time in a long time. To her delight, Loann joined her on the back of another bike. It was not long before the revving of multiple engines and the shrill sound of a whistle signaled that Bernice was about to relive her passion. The bikes and trikes lined up, and, with an old, familiar burst of adrenaline as well as the sounds of several cheers, she was off. After an invigorating, 30-minute ride through the countryside, Bernice and her “biker gang” came back to Clear Fork for barbeque sandwiches and even more good times talking, sharing, and reminiscing. “Cheers to everyone for taking my 97-year-old mother on such a special ride,” said Loann. “My mother has been a resident here since Clear Fork opened, and I sleep better at night knowing she is in a safe place that she likes. The staff is wonderful and really cares about its residents. I think my mom is special, and it’s nice to know that Clear Fork thinks so too!”