Journey 4 Justice is an important piece of many lives these days and when TL's chose to spend their birthday in Topeka {3 teams in a row} it just blows me and many others away. Texas 3 just made their 2nd trip from Wichita Falls and TL Gary Fortner shares their story from last weekend.

Friday, April 27th, besides being my Birthday started as a bright and partly cloudy day. 16 of my best friends and all members of the Journey 4 Justice group along with my wife Peewee, headed out at 8:30 AM for Topeka, Kansas.

Our trip was planned as a 434-mile journey to be made in one day.

With excellent weather and an excellent group of riders, ranging in age from 66 down to the baby of the group at 21., we made very good time. Stops for fuel and other necessities were made in Chickasha, Guthrie, Wellington, Wichita and on to Topeka.

The town of Topeka must have known we were coming, because they welcomed us by sounding the Tornado Warning Sirens. That was a nice gesture to make a bunch of Texans feel at home. Luckily, all we had was some rain. None of the hail or the expected tornadoes developed. We dodged a very wet bullet by about five minutes after check-in.

The eighteen of us then tried to go eat at a Texas Road House right next to the Hotel, but had an hour-long wait for a group of that size, so opted instead for the Cracker Barrel behind the motel. When we were close to finishing up our meal, out popped a group of waiters and waitresses carrying a Chocolate Coca Cola dessert with Ice Cream.

Yep- they sang Happy Birthday to me.

That is embarrassing, but deep down it is appreciated. I’m just glad we couldn’t get into Texas Road House, or I would have ended up on their Birthday saddle.

We then went back to the hotel to end our first day of travel. We were beat! Saturday morning, once again, started as a beautiful day. This time it stayed that way and we had great weather for our big day. Our group of 18 started at Gage Park, a known hang out for the Westboro Baptist Church. Sonya was there to meet us and started us on our way.

We waited and held flags for about an hour. As with our last trip cars honking and waves from the people of Topeka greeted us. These people really appreciate that someone from outside of their community would come such a distance to stand up for them. Westboro didn’t show, so we moved on to the next stop. Family Video is a Video Store that rents R-Rated Movies, so of course they are on the Westboro list.

Once again we set up a “Flag Line” and again listened and watched as the people of Topeka came by and honked and waved their support. Unfortunately, once again, Westboro was a no show. I was beginning to fear that we would miss them today and the new people on this trip would not experience the “Evil” that is Westboro. Sonya assured me that we would find them before our day was through.

Little did I know the next stop we would hit pay dirt.

There was a National Organization of Women Rally being held at the State Capitol and our hope was that Westboro would show up. After a short ride to the Capitol and rounding the last corner, there they were. They had positioned themselves in front of the Capitol, but across the street. We set up in front of them and between them and the women who were having their rally up on the steps of the Capitol. Once in position we turned our backs on them and acted as a buffer between them and the NOW participants.

With our Patriotic music going the little Boom Box of Westboro couldn’t be heard. They were pretty much a Non-entity. After about 5 to 10 minutes of trying to disrupt the Rally, to the cheers of the crowd, they left. We decided to go back to the Hotel and rest up for the night’s event. There were a couple of proceedings being held at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, TPAC, one being a Comedian Concert and the other a Senior Prom for the Topeka West High School.

Two prime opportunities for the Westboro Church to spread their hateful message to “Sinners” going to hear the filth the Comedian would be spouting and the “Evil” children of the Public School System. The Irony of this, is that two of the Children of the Westboro compound are students at that very High School.

We stationed at each section of stairs going to the entrance of the Comedy Show and along the corridor that the High School Students would be using to enter their prom. Three of us even stood by the entry doors and acted as “Doormen” for the attendees. Some of the comments we heard were: “These people have never opened a door for me.”, “You make it a pleasure to come out to an event again.” ; “You people came all the way from Texas to stand up for us?” ; and “You make me proud to be an American again!

One more time we had defeated the Westboro clan, as they left after only about a 15-minute stand off. We left shortly after the last of the Students going to the Prom arrived. We then enjoyed a short ride back to the Motel and a gathering in the meeting room to wind down and discuss the days happenings.

We all decided to meet in the morning and decide over breakfast our next step. Sunday we woke up to rain. At breakfast we decided the rain was not going to quit and that our best opportunity to travel was to leave after a wait of about an hour. Everyone went to their rooms and got packed up. Sonya, her Husband Richard, their daughter and “Nannie”, the heart and soul of Topeka One came to see us off for our trip back home.

Dressed in our best rain gear, we left for Texas.

After riding through rain for three hours, and numerous extra stops to dry out a little, we arrived back where we started our adventure after only 12 hours on the road. We were all tired, still wet and ready to be home, but we were determined to make a return trip to Topeka. The feeling being that in our small way, we had made a big difference in the lives of several hundred people that we came into contact with. The members of Texas 3 are a proud bunch of Patriots, willing to express our legal and lawful expression of disregard for the members of this misguided church group.

We will return, again and again. God Bless the U.S.A., and God Bless the People of Topeka!