Saturday, August 20 was a special day for The Highground during the 22nd Annual Ride to Remember. The forecast was calling for rainstorms, but that didn’t stop over 100 riders from showing their patriotism and honoring the sacrifices of every U.S. service member including Charlie Frey who passed away on August 8 of this year. Charlie, part of the Army Corps of Engineers from 1962–1965, was a longtime friend and volunteer of The Highground.
While waiting for scheduled rides to depart the American Legion Post #73 in Neillsville, riders socialized and enjoyed live music by Uncle Ron. The first two rides through the scenic countryside of Clark County were led by Bill Flemal with the VFW Riders District 7. The 1pm ride, traditionally a one-hour scenic ride, led by Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 member Ray Gjerdahl, was rerouted to Owen, Wisconsin to give Charlie Frey one last and well-deserved Ride to Remember. Charlie was well known by his custom yellow bike and his unwavering support of The Highground’s mission. With the assistance of the Owen-Withee Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, Rolling Thunder, VFW Riders, CVMA riders and many more, Charlie took one last ride on his bike which was driven by his son Carl. “Truly something awesome to be a part of today!”, reported a member of Rolling Thunder Chapter 2.
Fulfilling the motto of “No man left behind”, riders, Veterans and Veteran supporters waited patiently for Charlie’s escort to arrive at the Legion before proceeding through Neillsville and out to The Highground.
The Highground was grateful to have Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Brian Eisch of Casco, Wisconsin, share his story of service, being wounded in action in an attempt to save a wounded Afghan police officer and finding his purpose while he made the transition to retirement. Brian’s humorous and at times fervent depiction of his roller coaster ride through the last 12 years resonated with the Veterans and civilians alike. The courage Brian showed in sharing his adversities is admirable.
The Highground is grateful for this year’s supporters who were instrumental in helping to raise over $7,500: VFW Riders District 7; PBBS Equipment Corporation–Menomonee Falls; American Legion Post 73–Neillsville; Chippewa Falls Harley-Davidson; Dairyland Originals Women On Wheels; Rolling Thunder Inc-Wisconsin Chapter 2; Hansen’s IGA–Neillsville; Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association 45-6; WWIS; Central Wisconsin Broadcasting; JBC Screenprinting & Embroidery LLC–Neillsville; and Bonnie Henchen–Neillsville.
All funds raised will benefit Veterans experiences at the Park and through The Highground’s Veterans programs.