Saturday’s Ride 4 Heroes motorcycle ride will be a “great show of patriotism” for the region’s veterans and active-duty military, said one organizer.
“We’re just going to gather and say thank you to our veterans and active-duty military and honor those who have served and sacrificed,” said John Prazynski, a gold-star parent and one of the event organizers. “I think it’s going to be a great show of patriotism.”
Ride 4 Heroes filled the void created when organizers of its predecessor, the Hero’s Ride, ended it after the 2017 event. The Hero’s Ride began in honor of Prazynski’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, a Fairfield graduate killed in 2005 while conducting combat operations in Iraq.
This year’s event at Fairfield’s Village Green benefits Blue Skies for the Good Guys and Gals Warrior Foundation, the group behind the Warrior Weekend to Remember in Middletown.
“The most important thing that I see that they do is they provide a network (for wounded veterans) to know that they’re not alone,” Prazynski said. “I think it’s more important than the average citizen knows.”
Jessica Bowling, a 2005 Fairfield graduate and Army veteran, will be at Village Green before the ride starts. She is Miss December in the 2020 Pin-ups for Vets calendar featuring veteran women dressed as 1940s-era pin-up girls. The calendar supports veteran hospitals and honors the country’s female veterans. Bowling will have about 30 calenders to sign, and she’ll collect donations for Pin-Up For Vets, which was founded 14 years ago. The calendar fundraiser has donated $60,000 to veteran hospitals.
Bowling served a year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan as a member of the member of the Fort Drum-based 760th EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit, which supported the 10th Mountain Division. She left the service in 2017.
“We had a code in the Army that we would ‘leave no one behind,’” said Bowling, who had a day in March 2011 named for her Fairfield before her Afghanistan deployment.
“It was important for me to be able to support the men and women who were risking their lives every day to make Afghanistan a better place for the people. It was very fulfilling knowing that we were having a direct impact on the locals to improve their quality of life.”
The ride will depart Village Green at 1 p.m. and make its way up to Hueston Woods State Park just north of Miami University’s campus and end between 3 and 4 p.m. at Queen City Harley-Davidson, 5960 Dixie Highway (Ohio 4) in Fairfield.
The ride only takes day-of registration and costs $20 to ride and an extra $5 for a passenger. There will be event T-shirts for sale for a $20 minimum donation and are not included with ride registration.
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