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Hundreds Ride With Governor To Help Military Families

  • Bikers

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Hundreds of bikers joined Governor Daniels on Friday to raise money for the families of deployed veterans.

  • Biker Governor

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Governor Daniels, a longtime advocate for bikers, addressed the crowd and talked about improving biker education in the state. He says many of this year's motorcycle deaths were of bikers who had no formal riding training. Friday's event, sponsored by Indiana ABATE, holds riding training sessions across the state.

  • Bikers

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

    Bikers gather before 10 A.M. in front of the statehouse.

Nearly 1,000 motorcyclists gathered at the statehouse Friday for Mitch Daniels’ last annual ride as governor. The event started at the statehouse, and winded through southwest Indiana, ending at French Lick.

For many bikers, the event is more than a casual ride through the woods.

Marty Justice served four years in the U.S. Navy during the height of the Vietnam War. He along, with more than a hundred American Legion Riders, came out to support the National Guard Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to soldier’s families while away on deployment.

“Great turnout, and of course, the proceeds to go the Indiana National Guard and reserves, and you couldn’t be riding for a better cause, there’s no question about it,” he says.

Mike Bittner is a member of the Patriot Guard, a group that attends the funerals of fallen service members. He says this ride not only raises money for military families, but reminds the public that thousands of soldiers are still fighting overseas.

“It’s always good to give back to our service members,” he says. “It’s easy to forget what they are doing over there for us. So something like this to raise a little money for those back here, we’ll come out anytime.”

Major General Umbarger of the Indiana National Guard says the annual event has raised more than $30,000 since 2005.

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