On Sunday, August 7, guests, volunteers, families and friends stood in the rain to welcome the 128 bicyclists and support personnel to The Highground after their three-day and 150 plus mile journey. Ranging in ages from 10 to over 70 years, and from Veteran family/friends to Veterans themselves, the 2022 Heroes Ride made a remarkable “PANDEMIC BREAKOUT” (as quoted by Duane Pupp)! This ride is The Highground’s largest and longest running fundraiser. The amount raised in 2021 was amazing but that didn’t stop the riders from raising over $25,000 more for 2022!
Although all five routes experienced high temps and rain, the riders adapted and overcame the challenges to complete their mission to The Highground as victors for Veterans. The funds raised by the ride allow The Highground to offer crucial programming to Veterans and their families plus educate visitors on the tremendous sacrifices that each and every service member has made. The Veterans Retreats and the Veteran & Family PTS Peer Support Group continue to grow in participation, supporting the mission to relieve burdens and soften memories.
The Heroes Ride is not unlike other events The Highground hosts—it is organized as a tribute to those who have been lost and to all honorees. Henry Smith, retired rider and current support personnel for the Northern Route, accepts the responsibility of preparing a plaque of names and setting out the white “Ghost Rider” bike at every stop as a memorial to riders the Northern Route has lost over the years. This year the route rode in memory of John Southworth and Jim Griepentrog. Both men passed away shortly after the 2021 Heroes Ride. The Western Route rode in honor of Gary Simon who has ridden in years past.
On behalf of the Veterans The Highground has served, are serving and will serve well into the future, The Highground extends its congratulations and gratitude to the route leaders for a job well done: Jerry Simon and Cole Peterson of the Western Route; Curt and Oran Braatz of the Eastern Route; Kathy Heit and Mary Boortz of the Southern Route, Terri Stott of the Southwestern Route; and Kathy and Mike Gleisner of the Northern Route; and to all the riders, support personnel and individual rider supporters.
The Highground staff and all the riders are grateful for the event and route sponsors: Stache Bike & Adventure–Eau Claire; Riverside Bike & Skate Shop Inc.–Eau Claire; Asher Lasting Exteriors–Eau Claire; C & W Med Rides LLC–Fort Atkinson; TVL Trucking, Inc.–Whitewater; Dennis Fischer Trucking LLC–Jefferson; Our Lady of Sorrows–Ladysmith; Blue Hills Kiwanis–Bruce; VFW Post #9464–Cornell, Marshfield Police Association; American Legion Post #75–Fond du Lac; American Legion Post #218–Hayward; American Legion Post #425–Exeland; American Legion Post #268–Bruce; American Legion Post #353–Holcombe; American Legion Post #118–Thorp; J & L Auto Repair–Menomonie; Luk’s Auto Repair–Menomonie; Lowe Advertising–New Richmond; Kwik Trip; Church Electric LLC–Fort Atkinson; Epic Real Estate–Fort Atkinson; Fort Health Care–Fort Atkinson; Marine Corps League Detachment 552–Fond du Lac; Cutz on Kutz; Johnson Sausage Shop–Rio; Munson, Inc.–Glendale; Next Home Success–Fort Atkinson; Riverstone Restaurant & Wedding/Event Center–Fort Atkinson and many more.
Upcoming event dates, including the 39th Annual Heroes Ride, news and more will be published to the website as they become available.