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Motorcyclists from across the country raise awareness for veterans and first responders

Star Beacon - 9/2/2017

Sept. 02--The roar of 67 motorcycle engines could be heard Friday morning as Nation of Patriots riders rolled through the county on a mission to carry a flag across the United States to raise money for veterans.

Doug Roxberry, an Ashtabula firefighter and assistant director of the Erie Harley Owners Group, helped coordinate the Ashtabula County link of the ride -- which is scheduled to hit all 48 of the continental states.

The organization is working with motorcyclists across the country to carry one American flag more than 13,000 miles hitting 48 states in 100 days.

The event started Memorial Day in Wisconsin and will end later this month, according to the organization's website.

Roxberry said the organization raised $428,000 to help veterans last year and expects the total to increase this year.

"We will be closer to $500,000," he said.

Roxberry said the money often returns to local

communities to help individual veterans who are vetted through local

offices of the Veterans Administration. The Erie group has helped veterans in the Erie area and would consider helping Ashtabula County veterans but there have not been any applications.

A variety of area police and fire departments across the county supported the riders, Roxberry said. The Ashtabula Post of the American Legion sent a dozen riders to meet the crew from Erie.

The riders entered Conneaut from Pennsylvania about 10:30 a.m. and went down Broad Street to Lake Road to Lake Shore Park.

"I joined up with them at Lake Shore Park. We rode through the city and ended up at Kent State University Ashtabula Campus," said Capt. Gerald Cornelius of the Ashtabula Police Department.

After leaving Saybrook Township, the flag and riders continued to Mentor on the next leg of the journey.

The Nation of Patriots was formed in 2008 and the first national tour was in 2009, according to the organization's website.

"Our focus has been and always will be this: To provide financial support to those who have served in our Armed Forces," the websites states.


(c)2017 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

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