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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Richard Dawson of the American Legion Post 241 plays taps during the opening ceremony of Saturday's 45-mile ride to raise money for the veterans memorial at Schnelker Park.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Riders prepare to depart Saturday from American Legion Post 330 in New Haven for the ninth annual Veterans’ Memorial Motorcycle Ride.

Sunday, June 03, 2018 1:00 am

Heading out on highway to honor vets

New Haven event celebrates 9th year

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Sue Grossnickle stood behind a folding table in a New Haven parking lot Saturday as men and women on motorcycles drove nearby.

Registration for New Haven's Veterans' Memorial Motorcycle Ride was still a half-hour away, but riders – some wearing leather vests with military insignia – had begun to file toward the table, ready to pay the $10 entry fee.

“This is to honor the veterans,” said Grossnickle, events coordinator for the town's parks department.

Now in its ninth year, the event featured singing of the national anthem and a salute to the military by members of the American Legion Honor Guard. Riders then set off on a 45-mile trek that stretched east from the American Legion on Entrance Drive to the Ohio-Indiana border, then north on State Line Road to U.S. 24 and back to New Haven.

Money raised will be used for maintenance of a memorial to veterans at Schnelker Park. Organizers said they expected up to 50 riders to participate.

“The community embraces it,” Grossnickle said as she accepted entry fees and handed out commemorative pins to riders.

The event had been scheduled for May 12, but a threat of rain led to its postponement. Temperatures were near 70 degrees Saturday, though, and riders were ready to go.

Joe and Peggy Diedrich have taken part in the ride for years.

“I actually have the pins at home from the first and second ones,” Joe said.

Each said their parents served in the military and veterans should be remembered and honored.

It's a good cause, Peggy said, and riders enjoy it.

“We like to ride and, you know – if there's a cause, you know, you're going to get to ride,” she said.

Charlie Racette, a former Marine, is the director of the Legion Riders for American Legion Post 330 in New Haven. He said the event is an annual opportunity to give back to the community – particularly local veterans.

“We're always as locally focused as we can be,” he said.