Mike “Shadow” Phillips
Special to The Gardner News
The day began at 3 a.m. for a group of people from American Legion LeRoy Hill Post 19. Members of the American Legion Riders Chapter 19 and American Legion Auxiliary Post 19, all of Gardner took part in the 19th annual March of Dimes Bikers for Babies at the Kansas Speedway, Sunday Sept. 22.
This is the third year the group participated in what is described as the largest in the nation. This year over 4400 riders helped raise $620,000 for the Annual fundraiser which has raised over $6 million since it started back in 1995.
This group’s part in the event is two-fold. As riders enter the Kansas Speedway’s entrance tunnel, they first notice the dual line of flags lining up the entrance. 100 poles with the USA flags, reminding everyone that we are all together on this and the freedoms the flags represent allow us to do so. Everyone in the American Legion family’s group unfurled and planted the 100 flags and by 6 a.m. the entrance was ready, a spectacle unto itself.
When the first leg of the event was just beginning, their work was in full swing. Over the years the group has helped unload trucks loaded with food and ice for the event and made themselves available for anywhere help was needed. Past years include heavy dense fog, heavy rain and this year; the group was elated to see it would be a sunny day, perfect as it could be.
Within the busy schedules these riders have, who come from all walks of life, for a day they come together as a family to help the March of Dimes give prematurely born babies a fighting chance.