Antique tractor rally benefits OCW

A group of Nebraska farmers will hold an antique tractor rally this summer with the profits going to The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program.

About 125 farmers will ride their antique tractors during the annual Tractor Relay Across Nebraska, which begins May 31 in Nebraska City and ends in Haigler on June 8. At least a dozen tractors are scheduled to travel the entire route – about 400 miles – while others will participate for a day or several days. Each day dozens of tractors will venture from one city to another, traveling between 30 and 60 miles daily.

This is the first time that the rally, now in its third year, will also be a fundraiser. “We felt that since we we’re doing the drive, we also wanted to donate to something so that we are driving for a cause,” said Donelle Moormeier, who helped organize the rally and plans to ride the entire route with her husband, Ron.

It didn’t take long for the group to choose OCW. “There are a lot of veterans in our association or people in our organization with family members in the military, so this seemed like an appropriate donation,” Moormeier said. “OCW is a very good cause and something that we would like to support because of all that our veterans do for us.”

The organization has already raised funds for OCWand will continue to solicit donations as the farmers wind their way through the Cornhusker State.

The Legion’s OCW program provides rehabilitation and recreational items for military personnel recovering in warrior transition units or military hospitals. A full 100 percent of donations is used to purchase items such as special clothing for burn victims, sport equipment for those in adaptive sports therapy programs and entertainment outings so recovering warriors can bond with family members.

Representatives from the Department of Nebraska, including Commander Dave Bruckner, and National Headquarters staff members will be on site at the start of the ride to thank the riders for their generosity. Along the route, American Legion posts will provide refreshment and/or meals for the farmers.

The itinerary for this year’s rally:

• May 31: Nebraska City to Tecumseh

• June 1: Tecumseh to Beatrice

• June 2: Beatrice to Hebron

• June 3: Hebron to Red Cloud

• June 4: Red Cloud to Alma

• June 5: Alma to Arapahoe

• June 6: Arapahoe to McCook

• June 7: McCook to Benkelman

• June 8: Benkelman to Haigler