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Bikers go on the road again to help local veterans

New Castle News - 6/26/2018

June 21--One group is using two-wheeled power to help veterans in the area.

Last year, about 200 motorcycle riders raised more than $12,000, and all the proceeds went to Lawrence County's Veterans Stand Down, an event, which is held in October at Cascade Park.

On Saturday, bikers will once again meet at the park and take to the roads for the second annual motorcycle run, "Stand Up for Vets." It's sponsored by Lawrence County Community Action Partnership's SSVS program.

Marcus Russell organized the events for both this year and last year, and said all the bikes "are quite a sight to see."

Russell, who loves motorcycles, rode last year and will be back to do it again this year.

His wife, Missy, is the regional veterans services coordinator for LCCAP and chairwoman of the October event, and said previously that she hoped about 300 bikers will participate to raise $15,000, if possible.

Bikes will leave the park at noon and head south on Route 65, East Washington Street to Route 422, then travel along Route 168, West Pittsburg Road to Route 18 North. From there, bikers will ride along Route 108 East, take Route 317/551 North to 208 East, drive on Route 168 South to 108 or Croton Avenue to 65 South and then head back to Cascade Park.

That's more than 50 miles of riding.

The motorcycle run is a police-escorted, non-stop ride through Lawrence County that benefits local homeless veterans and military service members. Food and entertainment will be available after the ride until the close of the event at 4 pm.

While the ride is going on, police departments from the various municipalities will block off certain intersections so bikers can continue without any pauses.

Along with LCCAP's SSVF program, Lawrence County ABATE, Lawrence County Veterans Affairs Office, VFW Post 315 and other veteran/military organizations will be on hand with information programming for military members and veterans. The event is also held in conjunction with the director of Lawrence County Veterans Affairs.

Missy explained that Stand Downs occur across the nation, are backed by local VA medical centers, and are named after the times during war when exhausted combat units required time to rest and recover, and were removed from battlefields to places of security and safety.

"Today, Stand Down refers to a community based intervention program designed to provide homeless vets access to community resources needed in rebuilding their lives," Russell said, noting that at the October Stand Down, homeless vets and homeless civilians can receive health screenings, hair cuts, clothing and shoes, hygiene products, information and referrals on community resources, and a free lunch.

Now that the motorcycle route is firmly in place, she encourages people to stand in their front yards and, if they can, raise a flag as the bikers roll past.

It's all about showing the veterans in the ride unity and respect, Russell said, adding the vision is to keep doing more for local veterans.

Marcus added, "I hope people come out and support a great cause. This is to help people who fought for us."

lpezzuto@ncnewsonline.com

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(c)2018 New Castle News (New Castle, Pa.)

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