VALDOSTA — Almost 300 motorcycle riders rolled through Valdosta this week for a good cause.
Part of the American Legion’s annual Legacy Run, now in its 14th year, the American Legion Riders made a pit stop to Valdosta’s Legion Post 13 Sunday on their way to the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis.
The point of the Legacy Run, said Brett Reistad, national commander, is to provide scholarships to children of severely wounded or fallen veterans.
“This money is used to provide them with the resources to be able to get a higher education,” Reistad said. “Last year, this ride raised about $1.3 million. We’re hoping for the equivalent or more this year.”
The motorcycle run started in Lady Lake, Fla., which is home to the biggest American Legion post in the country, that Sunday morning.
Valdosta was the first Georgia stop the motorcyclists made before staying overnight in Waycross and also stopping in Milledgeville and Gainesville on their way to Indiana.
“That’s what makes this country great — it’s you individuals that have protected our rights to do this,” said Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter, who presented a proclamation at the Valdosta post. “Welcome to Valdosta, and welcome to Lowndes County. This is a wonderful site.”
Mayor John Gayle also presented a proclamation. He said he thought it was spectacular that his city’s post could be so accommodating to that many visitors.
“We like to call ourselves TitleTown,” Gayle said. “The main reason I say it’s TitleTown and Winnersville is because of the people we have living here. The people of this post do such a great job to welcome you. Thank you so much.”
The post provided the riders with hot dogs, chips and a drink before they were escorted out by several public-safety officials.
Georgia Cmdr. Eddie Asberry, who came to the post from metro Atlanta, said what’s great about the run, other than its charitable cause, is veterans get to come together and see what local posts are doing.
“The idea of them coming to a local post, which they usually choose a local post in the route, is very exciting,” Asberry said.
The riders are expected to arrive Aug. 22 in Indianapolis.
People interested in joining the American Legion and any of its side groups, which boast about 3 million members worldwide, should visit legion.org for more information.
Katelyn Umholtz is a reporter with the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256.