$1 million raised for children of fallen heroes

I am proud to say that we recently had the biggest turnout for an American Legion Legacy Run – more than 600 Legion Riders participated in the ninth annual Ride, Aug. 17-21. The Run left Indianapolis, traversed 1,336 miles through eight states and ended up in Charlotte, N.C., for the 96th National Convention.

More than $435,000 was raised during the five-day ride for the Legion’s Legacy Scholarship, which benefits children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001. And more than $510,000 was donated during national convention and a final donation of $53,000 was made to American Legion Charities on the final day of the convention, bringing the total to $1 million. Top donors included the Department of Minnesota Legion Riders ($87,000), the Department of Wisconsin (more than $70,000), the South Carolina Legion Riders (more than $43,000), the Department of Pennsylvania ($40,000) and Converse (Texas) Post 593 ($32,000).

Since 2006, Legion Riders have raised more than $5 million for the Legacy Scholarship. I’m thankful for our Legion Riders – they make the scholarship possible.

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.

While the Riders generosity shines through the Legacy Run, the 106,000 Riders nationwide also support their fellow veterans and community members by hosting fundraising projects and events. For example, Legion Riders from Livonia, Mich., recently helped lay to rest seven cremated remains of veterans who had been left at a local funeral home for many years. One veteran, Norval Marlett, served in the Spanish-American War in 1898. More than 20 Legion Riders escorted the remains to the burial site. In May, Legion Riders from Post 471 in Portsmouth, Ohio, escorted about 157 soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1191st Engineer Company to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. And Riders from Post 364 in Corpus Christi, Texas, hosted a chili cook-off to support the Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors Program, raising nearly $500.

Other events Legion Riders participate in is Rolling Thunder, the annual POW/MIA rally in Washington, D.C., over Memorial Day weekend; riding to honor fallen military men and women, and to protect the sanctity of their funerals from those who would dishonor their memory; local memorial ceremonies and community parades; and more.

Get involved with American Legion Riders by finding a chapter in your area online here.

Apply to the Legacy Scholarship online here.