GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--An annual tradition continues to help American Legion members remember one of their own while helping veterans just like him. That tradition is the veterans motorcycle run and it's hosted by the American Legion Riders Post 179, and it's late member Doug DeRidder remember as an "upstanding guy" help bring the fundraiser to life.
"Just a good guy," says friend and member Trevor Iler.
Doug DeRidder came up with an idea four years ago to help Michigan's veterans. But, he didn't live long enough to see that idea come to life.
"How this ride actually came about, we had talked about doing this ride with Doug and I don't think it was two months after that we lost him," says Trevor Iler, American Legion Rider Post 179 Director.
So, it was only right for the annual veterans motorcycle run to honor Doug and all that he stood for, which was making life easier for veterans.
"We basically better than double the money that we get from our sponsors and we share it," (16:37:43) "Wilwin Lodge is a great place for post traumatic stress veterans, things with the Veterans Home, veterans that are having a hard time at Christmas we help out and there's multiple places where we kind of split the money up," says Bruce "Bones" Postma, American Legion Rider Post 179 Assistant Director.
Nearly two hundred Riders from different Post stopped in to help raise money through motorcycle and poker run registrations, raffle tickets, and a silent auction. This time to raise more 12 thousand dollars for Wilwin.
"This year we're actually hoping to build a cabin up there. So we're hoping to have just enough," Iler says.
The 4th annual motorcycle run giving Michigan's veterans another place to goand continuing the work that Doug would have wanted.
"Doug's whole family puts a lot into this. So yea you can't help but when you get on your bike to think of Doug," says Postma.
The 98 mile motorcycle run rounded out with live music and dinner at the post continuing to celebrate Doug's legacy. To find out more about the post and how you can donate to their causes click here.