AMERICAN LEGION: Riders in Florida Celebrate Centennial, Raise Money For Hurricane Relief
American Legion issued the following announcement on March 19.
A vote among Legion Riders at last year’s Department of Florida fall conference led to a way to both celebrate The American Legion’s 100th birthday and help members of the Legion Family affected by Hurricane Michael.
“We’re commemorating (the Legion centennial) with a 100-mile ride, with proceeds going to Post 375 up in the panhandle,” Florida District 6 Riders Chairman Joe Marcheggiani said.
Legion Riders from Florida’s District 6 were joined by Riders from District 12 for the event on March 16 at Post 10 in Kissimmee, which took place in conjunction with District 6’s quarterly meeting and picnic.
“The whole idea was to be part of the 100th birthday,” Marcheggiani said. “We decided we would do a 100th birthday celebration this year and ride 100 miles on this day.”
And the Riders would raise money to help Post 375 in Southport, which was destroyed by Hurricane Michael last October. Marcheggiani said the District 6 event raised over $500 for Post 375. Other districts in the state are conducting centennial rides/fundraisers throughout the month.
“The main thing with being a Rider is to support the Legion Family,” Marcheggiani said.
“Because of time constraints, we did a creative thing within our district to make up for the 100 miles. I have posts that will ride over 150 miles today to go to and fro from their posts,” Marcheggiani said. “We took and we added up all the bodies that are here, what posts they came from, added up all the round trip miles, and came up with 40 miles short of 100 miles for all those bodies. So we gathered up as many bikes as possible, sent them out on a 40-mile ride to make up for the 100 miles, so we could get our 100 miles in legit.”
The “make-up” ride took Riders from Post 10 on the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga southeast to the town of St. Cloud and back. Afterward, the Riders picnicked and played games at the post.
Post 10 Commander Dan Bush was pleased with the turnout and happy to celebrate the Legion’s centennial.
“To me, personally, 100 years of us being around, I’ve seen a lot of posts go defunct over the years, I cry every time I hear one’s going down,” said Bush, who’s in his second year as commander at Post 10. “I’m proud of the organization, I’ve been a member for almost 29 years.”
Part of Post 10’s building has stood since the 19th century, a log cabin that was once a railroad depot and now is part of the post’s meeting hall.
“The 100th year celebration is kind of an emotional thing when you think about it,” Marcheggiani said. “Myself, I’m from New England, there’s a lot of history there; as a kid, I used to walk around Revolutionary War cemeteries and stuff. I did 20 years in the Army, I consider myself a pretty patriotic person, so when the Legion is celebrating 100 years, that’s a major accomplishment. … I’m glad to contribute my time to represent it and to show its face in the community.
“I think it’s important that we keep our sights on the next 100 years, and with this pool of veterans we’ve got right now, coming in from the Global War on Terror, we need to get them in the mix. That’s our backbone right there. If we can’t get them in here and into the mix, it’s going to be rough. But we’re slowly but surely getting them in.”
Original source can be found here.
Source: American Legion