Jason Jordan / Evening Tribune
HORNELL — For the third year, veteran backing bikers converged on downtown Hornell to put rubber on the roadway and raise funds to help those who served.
Each year, the AMVETS Riders convene a memorial ride to memorialize members who have passed away, but left a lasting legacy for the organization to follow.
Jim Burse was a charter member, Don Lorrow served as the club’s treasurer and Rick Terpstra was the resident “good-guy” of the organization. They were honored during the event on Saturday.
The ride, typically 80 to 100 participants, all eager to get in the wind and support a good cause in the process. The funds raised will help disabled veterans through the LEEK Foundation, which helps outfit disabled hunters and give them back the hunting experience at a preserve in Pennsylvania.
Remaining funds are also designated to help ease expenses for families of veterans when they become ill and must seek out treatment elsewhere. The event typically raises over $1,000.
“We help them get to the hospital and back, whatever the need might be,” AMVETS Riders President Jerry Didas said.
Participating in the ride bears several rewards for members.
“It’s the freedom, the wind in your hair, the brotherhood of the whole thing and being with your friends and it gives you a sense of accomplishment for helping out families in need,” Didas said.
“We are committed to the freedom of this nation, to provide community service and fellowship and to preserve and support the aims and goals of the AMVETS organization,” their mission statement says in part.
“It’s what we do. We’re here to help veterans,” Didas said.