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  • Thursday, August 06, 2015

    Scouts, Viet Vet Bike Across NY for Wounded Vets

    Three Boy Scouts and a Vietnam War veteran will bicycle through Upstate New York starting Aug. 7 and conclude a 59-day, 3,600-mile cross-country bike ride in New York City on Saturday, Aug. 15. Along the way, the Bike Trip America group (Boy Scouts Venturing Crew 225 of Astoria, Oregon) is raising funds for The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program that provides assistance and comfort items to wounded, ill and homeless veterans and military personnel.

    The Scouts, who surpassed the $10,000 fundraising goal earlier in the trip, are scheduled to arrive in New York from Erie, PA on Friday, Aug. 7 and face a series of welcomes from American Legion Posts across the state.

    “We have great support from all parts of the Department of New York American Legion family,” noted New York State American Legion Scouting Chair Stephen Mataraza. “There are meals and lodging being provided as well as some fundraisers and donations as they make their way through New York.”

    Here is the itinerary:

    August 7: Blasdell/Hamburg – Hamburg Post 527 is arranging motel rooms, dinner, and breakfast for the crew in Hamburg, NY.

    August 8:  Niagara Falls — Legion Post 381 is arranging tent camping in a fenced area with gazebo.

    August 9: Avon — American Legion Post 294 is arranging tent camping on post property, dinner and breakfast for the crew as well as indoor camping in the case of inclement weather.

    August 10: Syracuse – They have a “WarmShowers” host, which is part of a bicycling network that provides travelers a place to stay. They have sleeping arrangements and access to laundry.

    August 11: Little Falls –- Troop 31 Scoutmaster Mike Masi is offering the crew camping along the Erie Canal bike trail with shower facilities. American Legion 5th District Commander Les Crossett and local American Legion members are planning meals for them.

    August 12: Amsterdam – American Legion Post 701 is providing dinner at the post and hotel rooms.

    August 13: Hudson – American Legion Post 184 is arranging camping at the post and providing dinner and breakfast.

    August 14: Fishkill area – American Legion Post 1758 is arranging rooms for the crew at the Hyatt House Hotel in Fishkill as well as dinner for the group.

    August 15: New York City – The ride concludes with ceremonies at approximately 3 p.m. at the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center (plus the cyclists will ride over to the Hudson River to dip their tires into the water, signaling the end of the trip). Past National Commander Fang Wong is arranging meals and sleeping arrangements, as well as police escort to World Trade Center. National Commander Mike Helm will also welcome crew when they arrive. A Legionnaire who owns a bicycle shop has offered to ship their bicycles back to Oregon free of charge.

    The Scout bicyclists are Bryce Nurding, who organized the trek to bring attention to and raise funds for Operation Comfort Warriors; Ryan Tallman and Jonathan Williams. The veteran is 70-year-old Don Child, a writer who was an infantry medic in Vietnam. Accompanying the crew in a support vehicle is Pat Wollner, a retired surgical nurse.

    To follow the journey, search “Bike Trip America” on Facebook.