Riding for the fallen

EYOTA, Minn. - Hundreds of motorcyclists hit the road in Olmsted County on Saturday in honor of our nation’s fallen heroes.

Volunteers with the Disabled Veterans of America (DAV) organization, along with VFW Post 1215 sponsored the ride, which took motorcyclists more than 120 miles around southeastern Minnesota.

It’s a tradition that has carried on for the last three years, and it’s a ride event coordinator Scott Eggert says he always looks forward too.

Many motorcyclists riding in the event were either veterans themselves, or were participating on behalf of loved ones who have lost their life in the line of duty.

Eggert was one of the many riders in the rally, and he tells us he is riding for the memory of his son, who lost his life serving our country just a couple of years ago.

“Remembering,” he says, “that’s the way we pay them back, and we say to those parents, ‘we love you and we honor the fact that your child gave his life for us to be free.”

Those were heavy thoughts going into such a long ride, but Eggert wasn’t the only one with tough thoughts on the mind.

Vietnam War veteran Don Mitchell was another one of the riders in Saturday’s rally.

He says that even though he has been riding for decades, riding in events like this is special because it surrounds him with people who understand his past, and appreciate what these men and women are doing for our future.

Mitchell tells us he likes, “being around people that want to help veterans,” and says it’s comforting to see people showing how much they care.

“I know when I came back home, I wish people would of cared,” he explains, “so now you know, we get a chance to do it.”

Before engines revved, motorcyclists heard a speech from Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziegler, a veteran wounded in the shootings at Fort Hood.

His service dog was by his side as he read off several names of Minnesota men who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I’m here to talk about seven heroes from the south eastern Minnesota area,” Ziegler says, “they gave their lives so we could be here today, and they are gone, but as long as we are here they are not forgotten.”

The ride was $25 per rider and an additional $10 for passengers.

Eggert tells us that nearly 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the Minnesota Chapter of the Disabled Veterans of America organization.

 

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