Michael Sekiya escorts Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders flag to DC

Michael Sekiya carried the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders flag from Gallup to Washington DC and back. (Photo/Navajo Hopi Honor Riders)

Michael Sekiya carried the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders flag from Gallup to Washington DC and back. (Photo/Navajo Hopi Honor Riders)

GALLUP, NM - The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders welcomed home US Coast Guard veteran Michael Sekiya, road name “Mike Many Bikes”, as he returned to Gallup with the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders flag on June 5. He escorted the flag over 6,800 miles to Washington DC in 16 days during the Run for the Wall this year.

The Honor Riders, volunteers and NHHR board members welcomed Sekiya back after he brought the flag tot he Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC and the Middle Eastern Conflict Wall in Marseilles, IL. Sekiya brought back ‘Lori A. Piestewa’ name rubbings for a Gold Star family.

Sekiya has lived in the Gallup area for 62 years. His parents moved there to emerge into their careers. His father was a physical therapist at the local Gallup Indian Medical Center and his mother was a nurse at Tohatchi Clinic, also part of the Gallup Indian Medical Center for 20 years. Tohatchi is where Sekiya attended grade school then graduated from Gallup High School.

Sekiya, 67, has four siblings - two sisters and two brothers. He is the second oldest. One of his brothers also lives in Gallup while other siblings live out of state. Sekiya was born in Chicago, IL.

In 1975, he enlisted into the US Coast Guard. He spent a total of four years as a seaman - two years on board a 378-foot U.S. Coast Guard cutter while monitoring ships that entered into the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska. After that, he completed two years in the San Diego area.

After returning home in 1979, he continued his career in protecting and serving the community. He joined the local fire department and became a fire fighter and a first responder. He retired in 2002 after serving 23 years.

Currently, Sekiya rides his motorcycle to support veterans and military families throughout the southwest. His first year of Run For the Wall was in 1998 at the invite of a friend They started in Kingman, Arizona but didn’t ride all the way to Washington DC.

The following year, he assisted with some road guard tasks, keeping riders safe on the rough roads of the Navajo Nation. He was then recruited as a road guard for Run for the Wall. Now 25 years later, he still is helping riders get across the United States safely.

He earned his road name; “Mike Many Bikes”, because he owns quite a few motorcycles and bicycles. His passion and hobby are to assemble bikes. He is a self-taught mechanic and has engineered many bikes to custom design to his liking. Sekiya’s first street motorcycle was a Honda 350. Before that, he spent many years on dirt bikes.

Sekiya’s father was a U.S. Navy veteran. Growing up, he remembers his father being good friends with U.S. Army soldier Hiroshi Miyamura, a Medal of Honor recipient and local favorite in the small town of Gallup.

What does it mean to be a Flag Guardian?

The Navajo-Hopi Honor flag has traveled over 40,470 miles across the United States since it was launched August 21, 2021 during the annual Lori Piestewa Navajo Hopi Honor Ride starting at Window Rock, Arizona. The flag was first escorted by U.S. Army POW SPC Joseph Hudson.

The Navajo Hopi Honor Rider flag is a part of the Flag of Honor Escorts program which is coordinated by US Air Force First Sergeant David McElroy from Mississippi. Currently, there are over 20 flags traveling the United States, each one named after their mission. This is the second flag assigned to Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders since 2020.

NHHR selected Sekiya to be the Flag Guardian May 17. A flag guardian takes the responsibility to care for the flag while on mission and to share with others what the flag means to them individually.

“I met Mike about 15 years ago, I have been impressed with is dedication to his country and fellow veterans. We, NHHR are grateful for his support, we humbled by his actions in taking the NHHR Flag across the country during Run for the Wall event,” expressed Bobby Martin, NHHR president.

The NHHR Flag has had over a dozen individuals who have escorted the flag as it continues its mission, supporting all veterans past and present and remembering all Gold Star Families.

The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders thank all the individuals who have helped to serve and assist military families. Riders and volunteers all donate their time throughout the year.

The annual Lori Piestewa Navajo Hopi Honor Ride is scheduled for August 24 – 27. The event is a four-day ride across Navajo Nation visiting Gold Star Families along the route. More information visit: www.NavajoHopiHonorRiders.com

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