Bikers hit the road for a cause
It was sunny out, the weather was nice and it was a great day for a motorcycle ride. But the group of approximately 70 people riding on 50 motorcycles that pulled into the Shell Station Friday, Aug. 2, were not riding just for their enjoy- ment. They were part of a group of Legion Riders, consisting of American Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion who were out raising money for the American Legion’s Legacy Scholarship Fund.
The Legacy Fund provides money to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty, or have a combined Veterans Administration disability rating of 50 percent or greater. It is estimated 11,000 children qualify for this scholarship.
Every year since 2010, motorcycle riders from across Minnesota spend the first two weekends in August, a total of six days, riding their motorcycles and collecting donations from individuals and organizations from across the state who wish to contribute to the Legacy Fund. The ride in Minnesota began after a few members of the American Legion from Minnesota participated in the National American Legion Legacy Run and decided it was something which could be done in Minnesota.
At the beginning of the first weekend’s ride, the group was less than $58,000 from having raised $1 million dollars over the years and their plan was to reach that goal this year. This would make Minnesota the first state group to collect more than a million dollars in donations for the Legacy Fund. The run started with a kick-off event Thursday night, Aug 1, in Pipestone. The group collected $6,734 that evening. Friday morning they set off on their motorcycles and made stops in Luverne, Brewster and Jackson before pulling into Blue Earth.
While in Blue Earth, Bob Thorson, of the Winnebago American Legion Post 82, presented Steve Sullivan, the chairman of the Legacy Fund in Minnesota, with a check for $1,000. Then there was a check from the Fairmont American Legion for $1,000 and then there were individual donations. By the time the money collected in Blue Earth was added up, it totaled $3,500. The amount did not include a $1,000 donation from the Blue American Legion Post 89 which was going to be given out on Saturday.
There was another reason for the group to stop in Blue Earth, and specifically, the Shell Station. While in Blue Earth, Sullivan presented a plaque to Tyler Freyberg, the owner of the gas station, for his past donation of $500. Freyberg commented on why he supports the Legacy Fund.
“Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II and my father was in the army,” Freyberg explained. “This is a chance to give back to the kids who need help, so let’s help them.”
The Legacy Fund accepts all donations, big or small.
“There were some cub scouts from Winnebago who were wishing they had more than $5 to give,” Randy Olson, of the Winnebago American Legion says, “But we told them their donation was just as important in achieving our goal.”
From Blue Earth the riders headed to Bricelyn, where they received a $2,000 donation from the Bricelyn American Legion Post 165. The riders then traveled to Albert Lea and Waseca before ending their day in Faribault. Then they would be up the next morning to continue their quest to raise more money for the Legacy Fund. By the time they were done with the first weekend of riding, over $60,000 had been raised which put them over their $1 million goal. Whereas the southern part of the state was covered by the first weekend’s rides, the second weekend the bikers covered the northern part of the state. Their final stop on Sunday, Aug. 11, was in Osseo.
To learn more about the Minnesota Legacy Scholarship Run you can visit their website at mnlegacyrun.org.