The Wisconsin American Legion Riders and State Commander Ken “Rhino” Rynes have formally announced a three-day motorcycle ride across the state July 14-16 to raise money for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, which provides college funds for children of military personnel killed since September 11, 2001, (“Gold Star Kids”).
More than 60 bikes are committed to participate in the effort dubbed “Rhino’s Run” which will traverse 900 miles and pass through 30 Wisconsin counties. Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel of Milwaukee will participate on the ride which will culminate at the Johnston-Blessman American Legion Post No. 38 in Appleton on Wednesday, July 16.
“Since September 2001, some 11,000 children have lost a parent in service to our country. These children are the innocent casualties of war,” said Commander Ken Rynes of American Legion Post No. 13 in Richland Center. “The American Legion’s Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to ease their burden and we’ve established a goal of raising $50,000 to do our part,” he continued.
The total survivor benefit for children of military personnel killed on active duty is slightly more than $26,000, to be used for a college education. In today’s dollars, this benefit will pay about half of what a college education costs in the most affordable situation. This gap widens when projecting future college costs. Conservative estimates call for an increase by 5 percent per year, meaning that in 16 years, the most affordable college education will be $94,332. Military compensation will not keep up with these dramatic increases. The American Legion’s Legacy Scholarship Fund is designed to help fill the financial gap for these children. “Providing an education for the children our military personnel leave behind is a civic duty, and a powerful way to show our thanks”, Rynes concluded.
Individuals interested in supporting with their tax-deductible donations can register for “Rhino’s Run” on-line at www.wilegion.org. All registered will receive a patch, pin and commemorative booklet while supplies last. Concerned citizens and members of the American Legion Family are also encouraged to participate by raising funds locally and meeting Commander Rynes and the Legion Riders when they arrive at stops in your area and presenting the proceeds.
“Rhino’s Run” will begin Monday, July 14 at American Legion State Headquarters in Portage and will culminate on Wednesday, July 16 in Appleton.
Locally, riders will arrive at Camp American Legion, 8529 County Rd D, Lake Tomahawk, Monday, around
12:20 p.m., stay for lunch, and depart around 2 p.m.