‘Ride for Healing’ honors Vietnam War veterans

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by Reed Anfinson, Editor

Benson Vietnam War veteran Neal Thompson was among the “Ride for Healing” bikers who passed through the city last week on his way to Brainerd.

The ride was the project of the Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) State Commander Lee Ulferts. Funds raised by the ride will be used for the Vietnam Education Center in Washington, D.C.

Ulferts said it is his passion and belief that outstate Minnesota Vietnam veterans have never had the chance to be recognized and honored for their service. The ride was an attempt to “provide them with that honor and to welcome them home and give them a chance for the healing of all the hurts they have carried these many years. It will also give the public a chance to contribute to this cause in their honor as the caravan travels through the state.”

The weeklong event began Memorial Day at the Minnesota State Capital and ended June 1 with a two-day rally in the Brainerd Lakes Area.  In Brainerd for the event was the America Veterans Traveling Tribune Wall, an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. The Traveling wall stands 8 feet tall at the center and extends almost 360 feet from end to end.

Four teams of motorcycle riders departed the state Capitol and made their way to the four corners of the state, then traveled to Brainerd with stops at VFW Posts along the way for the communities to say a special thank you to the Vietnam Veterans within that community. Funds were raised through registration for the parade of motorcycle, classic cars, donations and corporate sponsors.

Photo:  Benson Vietnam War veteran Neal Thompason rides in Benson last Thursday morning as part of the VFW-sponsored “Ride for Healing.”


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