American Legion revs up

CHARLES TOWN – Veterans with a taste for the road will soon have a new organization to call home.

Jackson-Perks Post 71 of the American Legion will hold the first meeting of its American Legion Riders motorcycle organization Tuesday.

“It’s basically a group that are motorcycle enthusiasts,” explained Shawn Suiters, who is organizing the new club. “They have the same function and the same mottoes as the American Legion does: helping vets.”

The American Legion Jackson-Perks Post 71 will establish anassociated motorcycle club, a chapter of the American Legion Riders, at an inaugural meeting Tuesday.

The American Legion Jackson-Perks Post 71 will establish an associated motorcycle club, a chapter of the American Legion Riders, at an inaugural meeting Tuesday.

Suiters said around 12 American Legion members have expressed interest in joining the new organization, and eight have already committed to do so. He said he believed the club had plenty of room to grow.

“Enthusiasm for motorcycles has just gone through the roof in the last few years,” he said. “Everyone enjoys riding. And a lot of these guys and ladies are vets.”

Suiters said Legion Riders enjoy chapters at American Legion posts all over the United States. “The groups have grown so fast,” he said. “Every post I’ve been to, when they start a Legion Riders group, it just seems to boom.”

Suiters said the organization will offer new possibilities to Legion members with a love for motorcycles.

“You get that feeling of the freedom of the open road,” Suiters said. “You get out and meet a different kind of people: other motorcycle enthusiasts. The advantages are, to me, that motorcycle riders are more outgoing. The Legion Riders tend to go farther. They tend to ride more. They tend to get out more.”

Suiters said the group plans to organize a number of family-friendly activities for its members. “We already did our first ride out of the American Legion, but we hadn’t formally formed a chapter at that point. We’ll be doing probably two or three more rides throughout the summer.”

He said the group will also contribute to the Legion’s charitable efforts. Suiters said he and his wife — both combat-wounded veterans — have received much-needed support from the local community.

“We want to give back to the community that has really supported us, he said.”

To join, an interested person must be a member of the Post 71, or its associated Sons of the American Legion or Ladies’ Auxiliary organizations. Membership in the Legion Riders will involve no fees over and above the post’s ordinary membership fee. Qualified individuals interested in joining Post 71 and the Legion Riders are encouraged to call 304-725-7271.

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