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      Annual tribute ride for all who served

      Liberty--a privilege protected by service men and women for generations.

      Every year during Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of motorcycles roar for miles across counties honoring past, present and future heroes.

      Army Air Force WWII Veteran, Paul Erdmann, thinks "itâ??s great."

      "It's what we need: more people that appreciate what we did," said Erdmann.

      The Veteran Tribute Ride begins at the Oscar G Johnson VA Medical Center, shaking the hands of comrades incapable of making the journey.

      "They should show up more often, give us more pep," said veteran and VAMC patient, Ernest Anderson.

      "I thanked every one of them," admitted Ted Rip Kimichick, a biker whoâ??s attended every Veteran Tribute Ride since it began in 2004.

      These patriots do more than applaud soldiers; the ride is also a fundraiser. Every biker pays $20 to ride. With a minimum of 300 here, $6000 is already raised. However, last year the riders collected close to $20,000; the rest donated by residents.

      "It just gives me goose bumps," said Bill Bailey, a committee member of Riders for Veterans. "This is our 9th annual. We start putting this together in January and it comes to what you see here."

      The money raised gets distributed to veteran organizations depending on need. Riders say no amount of money can make up for the sacrifice given. The freedom earned by our soldiers will forever remain priceless.