GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The 20th anniversary of September 11 is three weeks away.
To honor those who served, a group of bikers travel from New York to Washington, DC and back.
This is the seventh annual Riding for Warriors event.
The group surpassed its original goal, raising more than $ 73,000 to help veterans and their families.
The first stop on Saturday night was at Battlefield Harley Davidson in Gettysburg.
The first 200 miles of their trip are over, all benefiting Hope for the Warriors, specifically the Warrior’s Wish program, which funds claims from injured veterans.
“It could be as simple as specialized training equipment, a bicycle. It could be something like woodworking hardware, ”said Michael Nehlsen, Riding for Warriors organizer.
This is the seventh year that Nehlsen has helped fund these vows.
“This year, unlike other years, I actually invited some of my friends, colleagues and other veterans to ride with me,” said Nehlsen.
While planning this year’s first stop, he met Sandy Sipe, whose son of Lance Corporal Jamie Sipe of Camp Hill died in 2017.
“He was a Gulf War era Marine Corps veteran who served honorably for five years, from 18 to 23,” said Nehlsen.
His family has been recognized by the organization, including Austin, his seven-year-old son, who received a motorized bicycle and money for a trust account.
“We will never forget this and in the future we will pay it to others and I think it is a great thing for our family to feel that someone else is honoring our, my son,” said Sipe.
Honoring those who have served and pledging to help veterans in need, Nehlsen says it’s everyone’s duty to give back.
“We have made promises to our veterans that our country has broken and there are businesses and charities like Hope for the Warriors that keep those promises,” Nehlsen said.
And whether they served before or after 9/11, “It’s about remembering what everyone gave,” Nehlsen said.
The next stop for the runners is the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County, then they will proceed to the Pentagon Memorial and return to New York for a ceremony at Ground Zero next week.