The American Legion's annual Legacy Run conducted to benefit the children of fallen U.S. servicemembers raised more than $764,000 – well over the goal of $450,000 and a record donation total.
The eighth annual American Legion Legacy Run – sponsored by USAA – left Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug. 18 and traveled through Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma before ending up in League City, Texas, on Aug. 22. Leading up to and along the ride, the motorcyclists raised funds for the Legion's Legacy Scholarship Fund, which was established so the children of servicemembers killed on or after Sept. 11, 2001, have the opportunity to pursue a college education. American Legion Riders make up a large percentage of the ride's participants.
"Without the dedication of the people on this ride, there probably wouldn't be a Legacy Scholarship Fund," said American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz, who rode along with the motorcyclists every day of the Legacy Run. "I don't know if you can say enough about the people on this ride and their dedication to their fellow servicemembers and their families."
More than $334,000 was raised during the ride, while donations during and on the floor of The American Legion's national convention in Houston brought that total to more than three quarters of a million dollars. During a donation ceremony in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Aug. 27, Legionnaires from Minnesota and South Carolina each donated more than $50,000; three other Legion states contributed at least $26,000 each during the same ceremony.
"The American Legion Riders – what can we say about them?" Koutz said. "I rode all five days and 1,500 miles with them, and it was fantastic."
Seven previous Legacy Runs have raised more than $3.5 million in scholarship monies.
"We need to take care of our fallen comrades who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us," Koutz said. "It's our responsibility to make sure their children have a chance at an education, and that's why The American Legion Legacy Fund was established. It's a chance to show our appreciation for those tremendous sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform."