JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Rolling Thunder is an organization that brings attention to American prisoners of war and missing-in-action service members. Sunday’s event invited veterans to ride motorcycles escorted by police in honor of POW/MIA armed forces.

Organization officials said they want people to know about American prisoners of war that were left behind and help protect future veterans from the same fate.  

“They knew in their own heart there was POWs and there was MIAs that we needed to try to pursue to try to get them back home,” said Paul Levesque, North Carolina Rolling Thunder chapter president. “We did this to ride for those who can’t.

“Those that can’t speak, that are still missing in action and their families who seek answers, I mean there’s many, many, families that have loved ones that have not returned home.”

The event started as a national event in Washington D.C. Now, different cities host their own Rolling Thunder ride. The event takes a great deal of planning, according to Deputy Jack Cavanagh with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

“It takes probably 20-30 manhours of planning each year to prepare for something like this. We had 14 different agencies that were originally slated to help out with this, this year,” said Cavanagh. 

The county was placed under a weather alert, almost canceling the event.

“Ten [agencies] actually showed up, we wound up telling quite a few of the motor officers that were coming from hours away that it was a 50/50 shot this was going to happen and it wasn’t going to be canceled, it wound up working out good though,” said Cavanagh.

“You make a plan, throw out the plan and make a new one and that’s what we had to do, and we did and we took everyone from here and got everybody back safe,” he added.

Rolling Thunder administration said they are committed to helping American veterans from all wars. For more information about the organization, visit their website.