The Jasper/Newton and LaPorte County branches of ABATE Indiana are making arrangements for hundreds of bikers to ride from the LaPorte County Fairgrounds to Rensselaer’s Brookside Park on Memorial Day weekend this year.
The ride, which will include several buses to transport registered veterans, will be making the trip to raise funds for the Jasper County Veterans Council. It will also be giving veterans living a long distance away the chance to pay their respects at the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall while it is in Rensselaer. The ride will take place on Saturday, May 26.
LaPorte County ABATE representative and Region Assistant Mike Livengood said he recently attended one of Jasper County ABATE’s meetings when member Richelle Winstead mentioned that the wall was coming to Rensselaer.
“We have two busses that are going to be in the ride for veterans that can’t ride or don’t want to ride down there,” Livengood said. “We will actually escort them.”
The buses were donated from the Michigan City American Legion Post and an ABATE member from Starke County. Flags will decorate the front portion of the ride escorting the veterans.
Once at the wall, the riders will have been told in advance that the ride is intended to raise funds for Jasper County veterans. A donation bucket at the wall will be available.
The traveling wall has been on display in Goodland and Watseka (IL) in years past. It’s 80 percent of the size of the original Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. But it still bears every fallen veteran’s name found in the original one.
It is set to arrive in Rensselaer on Wednesday, May 23 and be open for viewing on Thursday, May 24 at noon. The wall will stay up until 3 p.m. on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28).
Chris Woodcock of the local Veterans Service Office, located in the Jasper County Courthouse, is still seeking both funds and volunteers to assist with the wall and other setups planned for that period.
Info is available at at 219-866-4901. Volunteer opportunities are also available online at jaspercountyin.gov.