GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens of bikers descended on Grand Rapids Sunday afternoon, while raising thousands of dollars to benefit the children of veterans.

“Having 70 or 80 bikes riding together, it gives you a feeling you would never believe,” said Tim Shosey, a commander at American Legion Post 4 in Mount Clemens.

American Legion Riders from around the state went on a 385-mile ride to raise money for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. The scholarship raises money for the children of post 9/11 veterans who died on active duty. It also assists the children of veterans who have a VA disability rating of 50% or greater. 

“The kids, our youth, are going to grow up and run this country eventually,” Shosey said. “Education is important and if we can help them because they lost a family member, a father or mother, it’s all a great thing.”

The ride began Saturday morning in Mount Clemens and culminated in Grand Rapids.   

“Riders from all over the state,” said Mark Sutton, the communications director for the American Legion Department of Michigan. “We have Livonia, Mount Clemens, Quincy, Coldwater, Lansing and all over the place.”

American Legion Riders travel across Michigan, and into Grand Rapids, to raise money for children of post 9/11 veterans who died on active duty. (June 13, 2021)

The ride has taken place for six years. This year was the first featuring riders from the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club in Grand Rapids, which houses three American Legion posts (2, 258 and 356).

Scott Christie, the director of riders at Post 2, says he became interested in having riders at his club join others from around Michigan when he learned they were heading to the west side of the state. 

“They might want to go to the veterans home and I was like, ‘wow,’” Christie said. “That’s close to where we’re at and maybe we can get involved. Talked Mark and we did.” 

As of Saturday night, the riders had raised $6,000. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship has raised more than $3 million for hundreds of kids since 2004. 

“That’s why we do all this,” said Will Mellinger of Post 2. “Because of veterans, we wouldn’t have anything without them.”