Local vets raise money for injured soldiersBy: Melissa Stagnaro, Sun Staff Writer Published: May 1st, 2009
NORWICH – This weekend, motorcycle riders will have the chance to take a scenic, hundred-mile ride through Chenango County, and it’s all for a good cause.
Saturday, rain or shine, the American Legion Riders from the Lt. Warren Eaton Post in Norwich will host their fourth annual Poker Run. Proceeds from the charity event will be donated to the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, which supports American soldiers injured in combat overseas
According to local American Legion Riders President Paul Russo, combat veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are sent to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest American hospital located outside of the US. There they receive treatment and rehabilitation for their injuries before returning home. Often their injuries are severe and their stays at the hospital lengthy.
LHCP provides items which “enhance the morale and welfare” of the wounded soldiers while they are hospitalized, according to the organization’s website. This includes clothing items like sweat pants, sweatshirts and pajamas, Russo explained.
The non-profit was founded in 2004 by Karen Grimord, who will attend this weekend’s event with her husband. “She’s really a remarkable woman,” said Russo, who described Grimord as a “living angel.”
Each year the Poker Run is attended not by just vets, Russo explained, but many other riders and clubs. “It’s a touching moment when you see all these people come out for this,” he said. “They are so supportive.”
The newly-formed local chapter of the Red Knights, comprised of volunteer fire-fighters and emergency squad members from Chenango and Broome countries, will be among this year’s participants.
According to Russo, registration will open at 10:30 a.m. on the morning of the event at the Lt. Warren Eaton American Legion Post 189, 29 Sheldon St. in Norwich. The entry fee will be $10 per hand. Bikers will leave the post between 11 a.m. and noon.
The planned route includes stops at the new York State Veteran’s Home in Oxford, the Old Mill Restraurant in Greene, Seebers Tavern in Smithville Flats, the Georgetown Inn and the Honkey Tonk in Sherburne before returning to the Norwich American Legion Post. The last hand must be in by 4 p.m., and awards will be given out at 4:30 p.m.
To participate, all riders must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid operator’s license. Bikes must be properly licensed, registered, inspected and insured.
For more information on the poker run, contact Bill at 656-5697 or via e-mail at ALRPost189@yahoo.com.
For additional information about the cause, visit LandstuhlHospitalCareProject.org. Those who wish to donate to the cause, but chose not to participate in the poker run, are encouraged to do so.
“Any donations are definitely welcome,” Russo said.