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111-mile motorcycle ride helps Forgotten Soldier Program

After-ride party at Dingus McGee's celebrates veterans
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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Kickstands go up at 11 a.m. July 29 for the second annual 111-Mile Motorcycle Run benefitting the veterans served by the Forgotten Soldier Program.

Organizers look forward to good weather for the ride; last year’s event, held in November, was rained out. Mark Korb was one of only three riders who braved the rain for the ride.

“I think it’s a very worthwhile program,” Korb said of Forgotten Soldier, where he serves on the board of directors. “I served my year and a half of ROTC in college, and that was all I ever did as far as that goes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the vets in what they do.”

The Forgotten Soldier Program, which has been serving veterans since 2004 and received its nonprofit status in 2010, has the mission to “assist veterans and their families through an integrative approach of alternative health care, life skill tools and education.”

“A lot of them come in in a great deal of stress and with a lot of difficulties,” said April Anderson, adding that services are offered to the veterans free of charge. It costs about $380 per month to serve each veteran.

One massage therapist saw 55 veterans in the month of February, Anderson said. Other practitioners offer counseling, marriage and family services, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, art therapy, suicide prevention and Tai Chi, among others. The program serves veterans from all military branches and eras.

Army veteran Matt Patterson, of Auburn, said he found the program through Heald College, where he will graduate June 20 with a degree in criminal justice. He’s been interning at Forgotten Soldier, and plans to continue there as he heads right back to school for a degree in psychology.

Patterson served in the Army from 2006-2009, including a few months in Afghanistan before returning home with an injured ankle. After struggling with the challenges of returning home and attending school on the GI Bill, he said, Forgotten Soldier is a breath of fresh air.

“I really like it,” Patterson said. “Everybody here is really friendly and nobody has an agenda, really, except to help the veterans. Nobody’s pushy; it’s really easygoing.”

The 111 miles supporters will ride July 29 are symbolic of the more than 11,000 miles soldiers must travel to return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Returning home is more than just miles, and (it) can take a lifetime to come to terms with the physical and emotional scars that they can leave,” reads an event flyer.

For those not wishing to ride, a community party will be held at Dingus McGee’s in Auburn to welcome the riders back to town. The party will feature a barbecue and raffle, along with live music by Velvet Tongue and The Blues Houndz.

Korb rides with the Gold Country Harley Riders, which will provide road captains for the ride who will lead the groups heading out on the road. The ride starts in Auburn and heads down Highway 49 through Nevada City, Dobbins and Smartsville, with two rest stops along the way.

“We try to stay off the main thoroughfares as much as we can; we try to stay out of the towns as much as we can,” Korb said. “So we like riding in the country.”

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111-Mile Motorcycle Run

When: 11 a.m. Sunday, July 29 (registration at 9 a.m.; coffee and donuts available)

Where: C & E Auburn V-Twin, 12015 Shale Ridge Lane, Auburn

Cost: $25; $10 children 10 and under

Register: www.forgottensoldierprogram.org

Info: (530) 889-2300

 

End-of-run event

When: 3-7 p.m. Sunday, July 29

Where: Dingus McGee’s, 14500 Musso Road, Auburn

Cost: $25; $10 children 10 and under

Tickets: Lone Wolf Cycle Shop, Little Belgium Deli & Beer Bar, World Pub, Flying Pig BBQ, www.forgottensoldierprogram.org.

Info: (530) 889-2300

 

 

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.