patriot

Christopher Clark, 14, of Corbin, came with his father, Nicholas, who is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.

At the invitation of the Hamlin family, the Patriot Guard Riders were out in force at Staff Sgt. Chris Hamlin’s funeral. Among the veteran riders was Nicholas Clark, of Corbin, along with his sons Nicholas Clark Jr., who is serving with the Army Reserve’s 100th Infantry Division, and 14-year-old Charles Clark.

Though not old enough to ride a motorcycle of his own, Charles can be found with his father, Nicholas, whenever the Patriot Guard Riders are called to action. Saturday, Charles stood outside London Funeral Home holding a U.S flag in honor of Hamlin.

Nicholas, who is retired from the U.S. Army said it was Charles who came to him and said he wanted to join.

“He has always been very patriotic,” Nicholas Clark said of Charles “He came to me back in 2005 and said he wanted to join the Patriot Guard Riders. It’s an honor to have my son standing next to me.”

Charles said he likes to see all of the different bikes, and he has developed friendships among the riders, but what drives him to go on the missions is what the riders are doing for the families.

“I like the fact that we protect the family members of the deceased,” Charles Clark said.

When not going on missions with the Patriot Guard Riders, Charles may be found working with the Corbin Chapter of the Sons of the American Legion. He also is a member of the Legion’s honor guard, which presents the colors at the funerals of local veterans.

“When I tell my friends about it at school, they think it is awesome,” said the freshman at Corbin High School.

With both parents and his older brother having served in the U.S. Army, Charles said he is planning on following in the family footsteps and joining the Army after he graduates.

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