Legion Riders saddle up in support of injured combat veteransBy: Melissa Stagnaro, Sun Staff Writer Published: May 7th, 2010
NORWICH Over the last four years, the American Legion Riders of Norwich’s Warren Eaton Post 189 have raised more than $3,700 for the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, which supports American soldiers wounded in combat overseas.
Saturday, May 15 rain or shine the local veterans group will host their fifth annual Poker Run in support of this cause, to which they are so committed
This ride and event is for our combat veterans and the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, said ALR Post 189 President Paul Russo.
According 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 United States. There they receive treatment and rehabilitation for their injuries before returning home for further treatment. Often their injuries are severe and their stays at the hospital lengthy.
LHCP was founded in 2004 by Karen Grimord, a woman Russo describes as a living angel. The non-profit provides comfort and relief items which enhance the morale and welfare of the wounded soldiers while they are hospitalized, according to the organizations website.
Grimord, who lives in the DC area, has attended all but one of the poker runs hosted by the local American Legion Riders to date, Russo said. She and her husband Brian are planning to make the trip again this year.
Last year, some 140 riders participated in the run, and organizers are hoping to have as least as many this year for the “scenic and leisurely” 80-plus mile tour of the area’s paved country roads.
According to Public Affairs Officer Bill Fowler, 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. Bikes will leave the post between 11 am. and noon.
“You have the choice of riding solo or ‘running with the pack’ in our group ride,” he reported.
According to Fowler, the planned route includes stops at the New York State Veterans’ Home in Oxford, the Outpost in East McDonough, the Balsam Inn in East Pharsalia, the American Legion Post in South Otselic and a final stop at Seebers Tavern in Smithville Flats before returning to the Norwich American Legion Post.
“Once everyone has safely returned, we will have an awards ceremony, a dedication of the proceeds and remarks from the LHCP President, 50/50 drawings and door prize giveaways,” he said.
To participate, all riders must be at least 18 years of age and posses a valid operator’s license. Bikes must be properly licensed, registered, inspected and insured.
According to Russo, the American Legion Riders Post 189 event is not affiliated with the Freedom Ride which will be held on the same day. Both rides will benefit LHCP.
For more information on the poker run, contact Fowler at 656-5697 or via email at ALRPost189@yahoo.com.
For additional information about the cause, visit LandstuhlHospitalCareProject.org