DuBOIS — Each year, local bikers come together to honor fallen veterans and support the ones who still need their help.
The 10th annual Benefit Bike Run, sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 17, will be held Saturday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at the DuBois American Legion, located at 315 Liberty Boulevard.
Dayton Nixon has been involved with the Legion for a few years, but became president of the Riders in 2018.
All Bike Run proceeds go directly to veterans, with funds being split between Operation Comfort Warriors and Pennsylvania Housing for Homeless Veterans.
“Anyone who loves the warriors and what they do, and the freedom they’ve given us — that’s the reason we do this,” Nixon said.
The Pennsylvania American Legion’s Housing for Homeless Veterans Corporation aims to enhance the quality of life for veterans, providing them with safe and clean housing and help while they complete schooling or job training. The program works to support them and provide necessities as they better themselves.
A golf tournament held by the Riders in June also benefited the HVC.
Operation Comfort Warriors is an American Legion program that was created to provide “nonessential” items that aid to a wounded warriors’ recovery — items that don’t show up in a government budget, according to www.legion.org.
While they are being cared for in military hospitals or transition units, OCW recognizes that soldiers are still facing mental and physical wounds when they return home from war, the Legion website says. Up to 20 percent of them who served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from traumatic brain injuries, and many face post traumatic stress disorder.
The first couple years, 75-100 riders would participate in the bike run, Nixon said, but participation has since decreased.
“I think this (event) should be important to everyone, if they love the freedom they have,” he said. “The money we give them goes towards things they need.”
Prior to last year’s bike run, the local chapter had donated a total of $62,850 to OCW, and $33,129 to the Housing for Homeless Veterans, according to a previous Courier Express article. They also raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network every year.
This year’s run is in honor of four fallen veterans who were killed in action since Sept. 11 — Sgt. Brandon Read, 2nd Lt. Christopher Loudon, Sgt. Scott Smith and SFC Michael Tully.
Since 2006, riders nationwide have been raising funds for the Legacy Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to children of U.S. Military members killed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a previous Courier Express article.
The riders put in the same amount of money as everyone else, Nixon said, and donations are always appreciated. As far as the future goes, he hopes to hold more fundraisers and spread awareness about the Legion Riders and its causes.
“I want to try and get some more runs going, so we can try to gather more people,” Nixon said. “This would get more people involved with us, and let them get to know us and enjoy themselves.”
The cost is $15 per bike, and registration is from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Legion Hut on Liberty Boulevard. The ride begins at 11 a.m.
There will also be a Comfort Warrior breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 7-11 a.m. at the DuBois American Legion Post 17.
Donations can be sent to:
AL Riders Chapter 17,
C/o Al Heberling
1683 Behringer Hwy
DuBois, PA 15801.