Thousands show support for military families at Patriot Ride

An estimated 2,500 motorcycle riders were part of the 75-mile Minnesota Patriot Ride June 15 between Ham Lake and Cambridge.

Approximately 2,500 riders start out on the 75-mile Patriot Ride, which took off from Ham Lake June 15.

Approximately 2,500 riders start out on the 75-mile Patriot Ride, which took off from Ham Lake June 15.

Jeff Good of Ham Lake has been a member of the organizing committee with his wife Deb Good since the event started in 2006 and was very happy with the turnout.

The final number of riders and money raised is still being tabulated, but he said the event should bring in more than $100,000 for the Minnesota Patriot Guard and Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund.

Both organizations assist military service members, veterans and their families whether it is a house project, escorting troops being deployed or coming home, or offering a small stipend to those who have served in a combat zone after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Good said there were more riders and people lining the route waving U.S. flags than ever, despite the weather.

“It was cool to see people come out and show their patriotism,” he said.

The sky was overcast in the morning, but it only rained when the riders were at the midway stop at the Isanti County Fairgrounds before making the return trip to Ham Lake Lions Park. The sky cleared up late in the afternoon, Good said.

The riders stopped by the Isanti County Fairgrounds during the Cambridge Fire Department’s Fire on the Rum event.

Once they returned to Ham Lake, a speech was given by Staff Sgt. John Wadsworth IV of Eagan, who joined the Minnesota National Guard in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and Kuwait in 2011.

Another guest speaker was 16-year-old Sierra Stenger of Minneapolis, who shared what it is like to be the daughter of parents who have both been deployed. Her mother was deployed twice and her father once.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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