Motorcycle memorial run planned for Connellsville vet

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 7:21 p.m.

Richard “Mac” McDougal loved his family, his friends and his community.

McDougal passed away in January 2012 after a fight with cancer.

McDougal was also a veteran.

On Saturday, family and friends and the public are invited to a special event in honor of the local vet.

McDougal was a member of the South Connellsville Firemen's Club for close to 17 years, the Polish Club, VFW, worked for Fayette EMS, was a volunteer for the Tactical Team for four years, and coached girls softball for four years,” said Mallory Onusko of Connellsville, who is organizing a special run on Saturday in honor of McDougal.

McDougal also served in the military for 16 years.

“The reason for this run is because of all of these amazing things he did for his community,” she said.

The motorcycle run will be held Saturday, with the route beginning and ending at the South Connellsville Firemen's Club.

“Last year we had terrible weather so there wasn't a lot of riders who took part in the run itself, but we had a fantastic turnout for the after party,” Onusko said.

The route for this year's run is about 90 miles and will take participants up through the mountains, down into the Ligonier area then back to Connellsville.

“It's a nice route — a scenic route,” Onusko said. “I think that people will enjoy the ride.”

Because of McDougal's service in the military, event organizers have decided to donate the proceeds from the event to the CAHS Patriots.

“With so many different wonderful organizations to pick from it was then decided that every year we would pick a different organization,” Onusko said.

Patriots founder Linda Shearer and her group actually sent packages to McDougle and his unit when he was overseas, having his daughter Elise McDougal, help. The veteran never had the opportunity to thank them.

“Mac was greatly touched by this and at his daughter's 2006 graduation he tried to personally thank Linda Shearer for that touching moment, yet was unable to find her,” Onusko said. “So we would like this event to be known as a ‘thank you' from Mac to the CAHS Patriots for all that they do.”

Shearer said the group appreciates the thought and the money will help to continue the group's efforts.

“We are honored that they have chosen to support the CAHS Patriots, Inc.,” Shearer said. “I remember a few years back that I cut my hand and had to go to the ER one Labor Day. And it was there that I received Mr. McDougal's information. I always tell people to send me names and addresses of people deployed and we will take care of them. I remain true to my word and was able to send Mac some smiles from Connellsville. Proceeds from this run will help us continue to send smiles from Connellsville. We must never forget that freedom matters.”

The registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the run slated to begin at noon.

The after party, which will be held at the South Connellsville Volunteer Fire Department, will begin with dinner at 6 p.m. followed by music that will be supplied by the band “Good Enuf.”

Cost for the event will be $20 for the driver and $10 for passengers. Vehicles are welcome but all participants must be 21 years or older.

For those who like to only attend the after party, the cost will be $10 per person.

For information call 724-880-0716.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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