On Friday, August 5, as others may be wondering what they’re doing for the weekend, 13 bicyclists plus support and gear personnel, many who are Veterans, will join the Eastern Route in Appleton for the 38th Annual Heroes Ride. Their love of riding bicycles, support for our Veterans and love of The Highground are what motivates them to complete the three-day, 150 plus mile journey.
For 37 years, Vietnam Marine Veteran Jim Braatz has coordinated and participated in the Heroes Ride (originally called The Highground Annual Bike Tour). His son Curt, who began riding with him at the age of 10, now helps his father coordinate the logistics for the Eastern Route. Although many men and women from all branches of the military and Gold Star Mothers have joined the Eastern Route over the years, the majority of the riders are Veterans or have a family member who is serving.
Everyone rides for a reason. When asked why he rides, Curt Braatz says “People tell me I am crazy for riding 150+ on a bicycle. I tell them I can sacrifice my body and energy for three days in memory of those men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our everyday freedoms. I ride for my dad and I hope to keep riding until I can’t anymore.”
Curt and James plan to provide Friday’s lunch and dinner. Saturday’s lunch will be provided by the Plover VFW Auxiliary 10262 with dinner, the overnight stay and Sunday’s breakfast in Marshfield courtesy of American Legion Post #54.
The Heroes Ride is The Highground’s largest and longest running fundraiser. This event helps the organization to continue focusing on programs for Veterans and families as well as provide education for visitors to better understand the tremendous sacrifices each and every service member has made. The Highground Veterans Retreats, Family PTS Support Group, Veterans Reunions and PTSD Book Program are known to relieve burdens and soften memories for many Veterans, their families and their friends.
For their continued generous contributions and support, each registered rider and SAG personnel receives an event t-shirt, recognition for their years of participation and sponsorship funds raised followed by a celebratory meal on the plaza and a short ceremony. Please join The Highground along the flag-lined road to help welcome our riders and support personnel as they cross the finish line.
The Highground is grateful for all returning riders and looks forward to welcoming new riders every year. There is still time to join one of the routes this year. Supporters who would like to participate are encouraged to contact the route leader for the route closest to them as soon as possible. All routes and contact details are available online at thehighgroundheroesride.com.
General event questions can be directed to Bonnie Pettis at 715-743-4224 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.