Basehor resident Steven Beck could not have been prouder of the hundreds of motorcycle riders who showed up for the sixth annual A Ride for the Wounded in downtown Leavenworth last Saturday. Last year’s ride had more than 300 riders and this year’s ride was expected to be even bigger.

“We were expecting 300 motorcycles with about 500 total riders plus a total of about 1,000 people who come to the event,” said Beck.

Registration for the ride began in May. Basehor’s Heroes Billiards Sports Bar served as a pre-registration site, which included raffle items and a display of one of the motorized wheelchairs purchased by the organization. The action track chairs cost between $14,000 and $17,000. The organization provided three last year to local veterans.

“Veterans have the need to get back to normal,” Beck said. “Being able to get around is key to that feeling.”

Founded in 2012, A Ride for the Wounded uses 94 percent of the money collected to directly benefit veterans. Since many of the riders are military veterans, it is fitting that all the stops along the tour route are VFW and American Legion posts. 

The day began in Leavenworth at the Eagles Lodge 55. A pancake breakfast was available as well as music and booths set up by local ride sponsors. The 110-mile ride began at 11 a.m. The first stop was at the Atchison VFW. The second stop was at the Ozawkie American Legion. The ride wrapped up later that afternoon in Leavenworth.

Raffles and a silent auction helped add to the coffers. Beck hoped to raise at least $20,000 to help veterans.

Team Fidelis is dedicated to raising awareness of suicide by veterans. An average of 22 veterans each day commit suicide. Through awareness, hope and camaraderie, the organization works to eliminate that statistic. It offers a helpline as well as assistance with medical and psychological services.

The Foundation for Exceptional Warriors also offers outreach services to struggling veterans. This includes therapeutic recreation and personal empowerment. The FEW encourages new and different activities for veterans so they can begin seeing themselves differently.

The Veterans Utility Fund provides financial support for veterans struggling to pay basic monthly bills. This includes rent, food and utilities.

Visit www.arideforthewounded.org for more information.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com