American Legion Riders Post 9 is a local organization that not only meets and fellowships once a month as veteran motorcycle riders, they also pride themselves in giving back to the community in which they live.
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Legion Riders donated $1,000 to St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter to sponsor two veteran beds for one year.
“It’s just something we do,” said Jerry Tindall, director of the Legion Riders. “We’re a veterans organization — we always help where we can — we always try to give back to the community.”
Tindall said the riders raise money throughout the year through various events, including bike rides and raffle tickets. They then meet once a month and discuss the best way to offer support in the community, with all of the funds raised staying local.
“We don’t support a charity, per se,” Tindall said. “The last few years, we’ve reached out to the National Guard for military families that might be struggling and we helped with Christmas.”
Tindall added that last year, the group helped a disabled veteran pay his bills in order to stay in his home and they also donated over 400 bikes to needy children for Christmas.
The idea to donate to assist St. Benedict’s came from rider Martha Henderson who became aware of the shelter’s Honor Home for veterans. The Honor Home was established in June of 2017 to provide veteran members of the homeless community with structure, independence and case management through the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Henderson arranged for St. Benedict’s Executive Director Harry Pedigo to come speak to the riders, making them aware of the services the shelter provides and the population they serve.
“It was more than a donation we received from the Legion Riders,” Pedigo said. “We received two bed sponsorships equalling $1,000 — but also a commitment from the group to collect items throughout the year.”
According to Pedigo, the Honor Home for veterans is currently housing four veterans, with another five residing in the shelter.
“What it truly was, was a relationship, a partnership, and an investment — particularly to the veterans. We served over 50 veterans last year of the 500 plus men we served,” Pedigo said. “A relationship is priceless and the donation is a blessing. It will help service the needs and assure we are able to help two men in some form for a year.”
Tindall said the Legion Riders have other fundraising events planned during the months of September and October, including an event to raise money for Lupus and a community food drive to benefit the food bank.
“We do what we do — not to seek credit — we do what we do because it’s the right thing to do,” Tindall said. “There’s a lot of people less fortunate out there — it doesn’t hurt to donate something, even if it’s your time.”