HUTCHINSON - The roar of motorcycles will fill the air in central and eastern Kansas June 7-10, as the American Legion Riders take to the highways for the 4th Annual Kansas Legacy Run, to raise awareness and support for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund.
The American Legion is a veteran’s organization helping veterans, their families and their communities. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund has been set up to do just that. Helping with the rising cost of a secondary education for the children of active duty service members that died on or after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the children of Veterans who are 50 percent or more disabled as determined by the Veterans Administration. The goal of the Fund is to raise $20 million to enable scholarships for these children, many of whom will be entering college in the next few years. To date, American Legion Riders across the country have raised over $7 million dollars toward the goal. For more information on the fund, visit www.legion.org/scholarships/legacy, and www.legion.org to learn more about the American Legion.
During the Legacy Run, the riders will stop at American Legion Posts, Veterans Memorials, Cemeteries and other locations. Wreath laying ceremonies are performed to honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and are a stirring experience. Fuel stops, lodging and meals are planned months in advance. At meal stops, there are opportunities for area organizations and the public to present donations to the fund and receive recognition.
While only in its fourth year, the Kansas Legacy Run is patterned after the nationwide American Legion Legacy Run that draws riders from all 50 states as well as Great Britain. Kansas has joined Florida, Minnesota, Virginia, and other states that conduct “in-state” Runs to support the fund. The national Legacy Run is preparing for its 13th year, having traveled tens of thousands of miles through much of the U.S. After its creation in 2001, funding for the scholarship was lagging behind the need. In 2005 the American Legion enlisted the help of its Legion Riders across the nation to get involved, to help spread the word and raise money for the fund. Because of this need, the American Legion Legacy Run was born, and in August 2006 riders from across the country gathered in Indianapolis to ride their motorcycles to Salt Lake City and the National Convention where the first monies raised would be turned in by the riders.
Brenda Krueger, a participant in both the Kansas and national Runs said: “That is what the Legacy Runs are all about – it’s for the children of the fallen in Kansas, and nationwide. Keeping the promise for their future education. We are in this together and your support and encouragement whether standing on the corner as we pass, waving the American Flag or donating what you can at stops, it’s all about the support of a needed cause.”
Funds are raised in many ways, from raffles, bake sales and “poker runs”, to cleaning windshields of the bikes while on the Run for donations, as Brenda and her team did last year, raising over $300.
Riders are organized into Red, White, and Blue groups led by a Road Captain and Assistant that maintain a proper pace for the group, and a “Tailgunner” at the rear to ensure the group is kept together and monitor for safety issues. The 2018 Kansas Legacy Run will again be led by an experienced team of riders in these roles that have served not only on the Kansas Legacy Run but also the national Legacy Run for several years. It should be noted that safety is a prime consideration - while on the Run each day, no alcohol use is allowed, and no illegal drugs in any form.
The Run departs Thursday, June 7, from Hutchinson’s American Legion Post 68, 730 W 4th Ave, with “Kickstands Up” at 8 a.m. The run will stop in Lyons at the Rice County Veteran’s Memorial at 8:40 a.m., then to the Lindsborg American Legion, arriving at 10:05 a.m. From there it’s on to Pilsen for a wreath laying at the Father Emmanuel Kapaun Memorial at 11:30 a.m. The riders continue to Hillsboro for a lunch stop at 12:20 p.m., then on to Emporia for a wreath laying at the All Veterans Memorial at 2:30 p.m. Then it’s on to Topeka for the last stop of the day at 5 p.m., at American Legion Post 1 at 3800 SE Michigan Ave.
Day 2 (Friday, June 8) begins with departure from Topeka at 8 a.m., and arriving at Holton for a wreath laying at the WWII Memorial at 8:45 a.m. The Run will travel to Hiawatha’s Post 66 for coffee and donuts at 10:05 a.m., and head on to Atchison’s Veterans Memorial for a wreath laying at 11:30 a.m. After lunch and a fuel stop the riders will leave for Fort Leavenworth for a wreath laying, arriving at 1:30 p.m. From there it’s on to Olathe, and a wreath laying at the Four Chaplains Memorial at 3:55 p.m. The last leg of the day is to Gardner’s Post 19 and the end of day stop at 4:30 p.m.
Day 3 (Saturday, June 9) finds the riders leaving Olathe at 8 a.m. for a wreath laying at Paola at 9 a.m., then on Chanute for a wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial at 10:30 a.m. Then it’s off to Erie for lunch at noon. They will depart Erie at 1 p.m. for Baxter Springs and a wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial at 2 p.m. Then it’s on to Chetopa for a wreath laying at 3:45 p.m., and end of day at Coffeyville Post 20, arriving at 5 p.m.
The final day of the run (Sunday, June 10) departs from Coffeyville at 8 a.m. for Winfield for a wreath laying at 10 a.m. From there the riders head to Derby for the final stop of the Run at 12:10 p.m. at American Legion Post 408 (101 S Baltimore Ave). At Derby, the final money turn-ins are received, and the total funds raised will be announced.
At each stop, local American Legion posts and the public are encouraged to present donations to the fund, which in turn will be presented on behalf of the Kansas American Legion on the National Legacy Run in August. The public is encouraged to gather at the stops to show their support and patriotism.
The Kansas American Legion Riders are led at the state level by ALR Dept. Chairman Al “Sheriff” Longstaff, and committee members Robert “Skip” Robinson and Lambert Staab of Hays. Currently over 70 Legion Rider Chapters are in operation in Kansas, serving their communities in a number of ways, from “Welcome Homes” and Sendoffs for our current service members, riding in parades, raising funds for a variety of causes, and supporting the overall goals of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion.