More than 65 motorcycle riders rumbled into Laurel on Tuesday for a lunch stop during the American Legion Unity Legacy Scholarship Ride.

Thundering into Laurel

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Local American Legion post hosts 65 as part of scholarship ride for veterans

“Is that a helicopter?” one of the 20 or so people gathered Tuesday around noon at the Marvin E. Stainton American Legion Post 11 said. 

“No, that’s them,” another responded.

Then, in single file, a line of about 65 motorcycles and riders made the turn onto N. 9th Avenue for a needed respite as part of a multi-state trek known as the American Legion Riders Legacy Scholarship Ride.

The group of 65 riders left Florida on Saturday and rode an entire day into Alabama in  driving rain storm. But when they hit the road Tuesday morning for Laurel, they were greeted by golden sunshine, although many did comment on the bumpy ride into town.

“They are fixing the roads, we promise,” one local said.

The ride was organized through the American Legion in the Florida Panhandle.

“This ride is for the children and for the legacy,” said Jim Bowers, chairman of the Western Florida American Legion Riders. “We ride to raise money for the children of fallen military to help send those children to college. It is important to all of our veterans and their children to get the education they deserve.”

Once at the Post — one of the oldest in the United States and one that will be celebrating its 100th birthday in 2019 — the riders were treated to steak sandwiches, sausage dogs, potato salad and home-made banana pudding. All of the food was donated and cooked in-house, even though Post 11’s Ron Maxcey said the riders were paying $5 per meal. That money will go into the local legion’s general fund.

The legion operates on donations, a small monthly membership fee and proceeds from the bar that operates in the back of the building, so, Maxcey said, every little bit helps.

Riders came from as far away at Ravenna, Ohio.

The group left Laurel early Tuesday afternoon for Jackson, then west to Louisiana, back along the coast to Florida.