Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
It was a beautiful day for a ride, and for The American Legion Riders out of Cicero Post 341 in Cicero, Indiana, it was a good day combat the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A group of more than 100 motorcycles with riders from all over the Hoosier state, traveled to Cicero Saturday to take part in the fourth annual “Battle Ride.”
This annual fundraiser benefits The American Legion program Operation Comfort Warriors, which aims to provide additional comfort items to veterans not normally received while receiving medical treatment.
The program focuses primarily on injured or ill troops with severe injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, the signature wounds of current conflicts.
While the care at many military hospitals and warrior transition units is extraordinary, The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program was created to provide "non essential" - items that help wounded warriors' recovery but don't usually show up as a budget line on government spreadsheets.
Past National Commander of The American Legion, Jim Koutz, said “I think the Riders out here really understand how hard it is to fight an invisible enemy like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They do a great job setting this up each year and these Riders go all-out."
According to the U.S, Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 percent of all the veterans that come back from Afghanistan and Iraq are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The Battle Ride started at the Cicero Post and made scheduled stops at Fairmount Post 313, Frankton Post 469 and the Lapel American Legion Post 212.
“We traveled about 100 miles and we finished up here at Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis," said Dave Baughman, Director of the Legion Riders Cicero Chapter.
"This is one of the largest Harley-Davidson dealerships in the state and they help support the Battle Ride each year.”
For the owner of Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis, David Dellen, hosting the final stop of the Battle Ride was almost a no-brainer.
“This will be our third year backing up the Battle Ride and we absolutely love it. We look at it as our way of giving back to the brave men and women who put on the uniform and served our country.”
In addition to hosting the closing event, Harley-Davidson of Indianapolis also pledged 5 percent of their sales during the event to OCW.
At the end of the day, the Battle Ride raised over $3,600 for OCW.
“These Rider are so motivated to make a difference” said Koutz.
“They are one of the biggest fundraising groups I have ever seen. I just can’t thank the Cicero Riders enough. They set the bar higher every year and reach it. I just can’t thank them enough for what they do.”
For more information on Operation Comfort Warriors, Click Here.
For more information on The American Legion Riders, Click Here.
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