By Don "DJ" Jones, 2019-2020 ALRA Director
Happy Summer riding to all our American Legion Riders in Alaska. Here in Alaska, the season always seems shorter….yet more awesome with all the daylight. These past few months have been packed with events. A lot of folks have been riding with their respective Chapters, as it should be. I have seen ALR patches up and down the Glenn Highway, as well as the Seward and Parks Highways. We had good representation at the Western Region Romp. From what I’m told, everyone had a blast. Rumor is that at least one Post offered to host the 2020 Region Romp here in Alaska. That’s a topic to be discussed at a later date.
Then, last month, the ALRA ROMP took place in Ninilchik. Many thanks to the Riders that attended and a special shout out to Tim Campbell, Brad Phelps, Andrea Huyck, Mike Morawitz, and others who made this ROMP memorable.
One of the biggest things that came out of the ROMP is that ALRA would like to have Rider Chapters step up to do the planning some two years out. So for the 2020 ROMP, Jack Henry Chapter 1 has volunteered to take on the task of planning/hosting it. And for 2021, it was agreed that Susitna Valley Chapter 35 in Wasilla would take responsibility to plan the ROMP. Since there was not enough members for a quorum, this change will have to be voted on at our State Riders meeting in April. However, this two-year cycle will allow Chapters the time to plan a great ROMP and it follows The American Legion’s approach to planning the Department Convention.
Another great event took place August 9-10, 2019 - Legion Riders gathered at Bass Pro Shop in Anchorage to escort our American Heroes down to the Kenai River for a jam packed two days of fishing and catching Alaskan salmon. Many thanks to Craig Breshears (Blue) and Bobby Dunno who made this event a big success. We had riders from all over - American Legion Chapters 1, 5 and 35, AMVETS Post 4, and Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association 43-1. It did not go unnoticed, as many of our military men and women who we were honoring came up to personally thank the Riders. If that does not make you feel good as an American, then I failed to explain this properly. Heck, even “Courage” - The Bear, rode the entire trip on the lead bike.
What lies ahead for American Legion Riders Alaska is more riding and more fundraising for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. In fact, large numbers of Legion Riders are rallying to ride from Lake City, Florida to Indianapolis, Indiana during August 18-22. This will be a huge ride/fund raiser. I encourage every Chapter to focus fundraising efforts on this scholarship fund.
Finally, I also want to encourage our Riders to increase our numbers. With the change in who can now qualify to join The American Legion, this will surely open the door to increasing our Rider numbers. Let’s encourage other Posts to start a Rider Chapter of their very own. After all, riding and sharing our American patriotic bond is what we do as Riders. Who would not want to be a part of that?! Until the next newsletter, I say “Let’s Ride”!