Veterans ride to raise awareness for POW/MIA

Riders arrive in Mt. Vernon. (Source: Emma Hawes, Heartland News intern)
Riders arrive in Mt. Vernon. (Source: Emma Hawes, Heartland News intern)

MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Hundreds of veterans and their families are on a cross-country journey.  It's called the "Run for the Wall" and it came roaring into Mt. Vernon on Tuesday.  Over 500 motorcycles are in the group, which began in California and will culminate on Memorial Day Weekend in Washington, D.C.

The annual cross-country journey attracts young and old and was started by two Vietnam Vets back in 1989.  The run is designed to draw attention to those killed or missing in action, and to honor veterans who did not get the hero's welcome they deserved.

David Gladwill is the leader for the central route and he's humbled by the outpouring of support.

"When you see a veteran, know that you're looking at somebody that wrote a check, for anything and everything, including their life," Gladwill said.

The run's only stop in Illinois happens in Mt. Vernon at Dale's Harley Davidson.  Marketing director Doug Drenckpohl pushed to get the bikers here.

"We thought if we get it here, we can get them dinner, if anybody needs an oil change we can get them back on the road, it's convenient and support for them," Drenckpohl said.

Run organizers say these veterans and riders begin the ten-day trip as strangers and end as members of a new family.  The ride helps many to find the peace and support they'd been missing along the way.

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