Riders for Veterans had their eighth annual Veteran Tribute Ride Saturday.
Since the ride started its engines in 2004, it's grown substantially. It started out with 50 bikes raising $3,000 and last year had over 200 bikes raising $13,000. All proceeds get donated to various veteran organizations. Bill Bailey, a committee member of Riders for Veterans, says he looks forward to this day every year.
â??It's wonderful to be there to make a difference,â?? said Bill Bailey.
â??We come home to everybody; you know American flags and congratulations. Everyone thanks us. It never gets old, the support never gets old,â?? said Private Tony Henning of the Army National Guard. â??We really appreciate everything you guys have done for us."
Bikers pay their $15 registration and then make their first stop at the Oscar G. Johnson VA hospital to shake the hands of veterans. A ceremony is held and then they head out. Each of the 211 bikers rode out to Crandon, Wisconsin where they witnessed a Native American Veteran ceremony.
â??I don't think words can describe what the Riders for Veterans are doing. Thereâ??s nothing that will stop them from doing what they love to do and thatâ??s helping veterans,â?? said Ronald Lemieux, president of Forest Countyâ??s Veteran Memorial Association.
All of the bikers say veterans are near and dear to them. Raising money while doing something they love is indescribable. All they want is to communicate the support they have for all of our veterans, and they are already looking forward to next year's tribute ride.