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Veterans ride for scholarships
Legacy Run gets underway from Great Bend
American Legion Riders from Kansas and Oklahoma met at the Argonne American Legion Post 180 in Great Bend on Thursday for the first leg of the 6th “Almost” Annual Kansas Legacy Run, to raise awareness and financial support for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. - photo by Susan Thacker / Great Bend Tribune

Dozens of men and women from Kansas and Oklahoma met Thursday morning at the Argonne American Legion Post 180 in Great Bend as American Legion Riders started the 6th “Almost” Annual Kansas Legacy Run. The 2020 run was “virtual” because of COVID-19, so new and returning riders were excited to get underway. They would spend most of the morning touring the Golden Belt, stopping at American Legion posts, veterans memorials, cemeteries and other locations in Larned, Bazine and Ness City.

“Some of the memorials we’re stopping at and laying a wreath at are small, but they’re all very important,” rider Dave Schoonover from Hutchinson said as riders received their final briefing and were assigned to the “red” “white” or “blue” groups. From Ness City, they would head to Wakeeney for a wreath laying at the State Veterans Cemetery and north for a brief stop in Hill City the Veterans Memorial for a wreath laying. Nicodemus and Phillipsburg were their final stops.

Along with safety and fun, one of the top considerations was raising funds for the American Legion National Legacy Fund. As the ride continues through Sunday, the public is invited to meet the riders at their stops and make a donation if they are able. Monetary contributions may also be mailed to American Legion Department of Kansas, 1314 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66612. In the memo area of the check, write “Kansas Legacy Fund.”

The Legacy Run allows the children of fallen and disabled veterans to continue their education. Thursday morning, the riders watched video messages from two of the recipients. Donation checks were presented, and ALR Dept. Chairman Roger “Road Dog” Beckley presented a certificate of appreciation to Roy Titsworth from the Great Bend American Legion Post 180.

The Kansas American Legion Riders are led at the state level by Beckley of Abilene and committee members Don “Sailor” Harden of Tonganoxie and Alan “Gasman” Hagans of Utica. Currently over 70 Legion Rider Chapters are in operation in Kansas, serving their communities in a number of ways, from “Welcome Homes” and sendoffs for current service members, riding in parades, raising funds for a variety of causes, and supporting the overall goals of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion.

Weekend schedule

Here is the Legacy Run schedule for Friday through Sunday:

Friday - Leaving Phillipsburg, the first stop is at the American Legion post in Kensington, followed by Mankato, Scandia and Concordia. After lunch in Concordia, they will travel to Belleville and Seneca before spending the night in Holton.

Saturday - Day 3 takes the riders to Topeka Post 400 for a breakfast stop. They will then head west on Highway 24 with a stop at a memorial in Wamego then north to Frankfort for lunch. They will follow the scenic route around Tuttle Creek Reservoir, Milford Reservoir and Fort Riley, stopping at the Buffalo Soldier Memorial in Junction City. They will end the day at Emporia and Post No. 5.

Sunday - The last day of the run will start in Emporia and riders will end the Kansas Legacy Run 2021 in Ellsworth at Post 174. Other stops in between include Canton and McPherson.