Wounded Warrior Project Motorcycle Run is July 27 in Mt. Pleasant
The 3rd annual Wounded Warrior Project Motorcycle Run will roll into Mt. Pleasant on July 27.
More than $10,000 was raised during the event's second installment in 2012, and organizer Brandon Miller said he's hoping to raise even more this year.
“I would like to surpass $15,000 this year,” said Miller, a 2011 Mt. Pleasant Area graduate who organized the inaugural event that year as a means of completing his mandatory senior project.
That summer, proceeds from the run totaled roughly $6,000, Miller said, before nearly doubling during the 2012 run.
“Mt. Pleasant is a very patriotic town,” he said. “I'd like to keep having this event every year.”
All money raised benefits Wounded Warrior Project, a Florida-based, nonprofit organization.
The project, founded by wounded Vietnam War veteran John Melia, strives to raise public awareness and enlist the public's aid in meeting the needs of severely injured service men and women as they transition from active duty back to civilian life, according to the project's website, woundedwarriorproject.org.
The organization offers job training, provides training to soldiers' caregivers, lobbies Congress to improve benefits for wounded service members and provides a way for wounded veterans to meet, the site states.
“Wounded Warrior Project's goal is to meet the changing needs of injured service members with 19 unique programs and services,” said Adam Silva, chief development officer for Wounded Warrior Project. “Individual community events help raise awareness and funds that contribute to our mission of honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors.”
For bikers planning to take part in the run, sign-up starts at 11 a.m. at Veteran's Park in the borough with kickstands up at noon. The fee to ride is $20 per person and includes dinner after the event.
While at the park, participants will be entertained by music provided free-of-charge by disc jockeys from PowerBomb Productions, Miller said.
“The goal is to get bigger each year, keep advertising, getting the word out, and, obviously, raising more money,” run organizer J.D. Ames said. “It's a great partnership with Brandon.”
Event T-shirts will be available to those participating in the run at $10 each for small to extra large and $12 each for double- and triple-extra large.
Those not taking part in the run can purchase the shirts at Miller's Refrigeration at 108 W. Main St. in Mt. Pleasant or at Veteran's Park on event day for $15 each for small to extra large and $17 each for double- and triple-extra large.
From Veteran's Park, the bike route will wind to Kiel's Tavern, Double D Saloon, Dogwood and to Rodney's Corner Cafe if time permits.
The last stop is the Mt. Pleasant VFW Post 3368 for dinner and a raffle.
Dinner costs $10 for those who do not participate in the run, and will be served from 4 to 8 p.m.
The meal will include spaghetti with salad, dinner rolls and dessert.
Entertainment will be live music by “Life Behind Bars,” a band in which Ames, an Acme resident, plays.
Donations are essential to cover the expenses of T-shirts, food, drinks and advertisements, Miller said.
Donors, from businesses to individuals, will all be recognized, he said.
Back again to offer more help to Miller is Bill Lozier of the James E. Zundell American Legion Post 446 in the borough.
“I've been contributing to Wounded Warrior Project for some time as an individual, and when Brandon started this run, I just thought ‘This is for a good cause,'” said Lozier, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served in the Vietnam War.
“I've been providing my help personally and getting the Legion involved. We got a lot of people coming back with injuries of various sorts, they need a lot of help, and in my opinion, Wounded Warrior Project is doing a really great job,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Army National Guard 1st Battalion-110th Infantry Regiment of Mt. Pleasant will be on hand to volunteer by selling event T-shirts and providing traffic control during the run.
When Miller was organizing the event's first installment, he contacted Sgt. First Class Tim Snyder at the local 1-110th regiment for help. Snyder assigned Sgt. Anthony “T.J.” Reed to the task as a volunteer effort, he said.
“T.J. was my training NCO (non-commissioned officer), and he took it and ran with it; he really took ownership of it,“ said Snyder of Reid, who this spring was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant and now works out of Bravo Co., 1-110th Infantry Regiment in Waynesburg.
“I will be helping every year, regardless of the situation of where I am at,” Reed said. “Being in the military, Wounded Warrior Project benefits a lot of soldiers across southwestern Pennsylvania that have been hurt in previous wars that may not get they help need otherwise.”
About 10 and 15 volunteers from the local 1-110th will be on hand to help Saturday, and many other regiment members will ride, Snyder said.
“I think it (the run) is wonderful, it shows what a young kid in today's society what they can do when they put their mind to it,” Snyder said. “For me, it's been a treat to see it grow every year at the rate that it has. As long as they're doing it, we're going to help them with it.”
Those interested in making a donation to Brandon Miller's WWP Motorcycle Run are asked to mail cash or a check to 1637 Kecksburg Road, Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666.
Checks can be made payable to Brandon Miller's WWP Fundraiser.
Donors can also send checks to Standard Bank in Mt. Pleasant under Brandon Miller's WWP Fundraiser.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.