Bikers pay respects to veterans in the Pikes Peak region

Bikers honor Veterans -- FOX21 News, Ray Harless

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Hundreds of bikers payed their respects to veterans and those currently serving at the 10th annual Defenders of Freedom: Veterans Recognition Ride Sunday.

“It’s not a nonprofit. It’s a no-profit event. Every single dollar and dime that we collect goes directly to where it’s supposed to go,” said ride founder and Army veteran Brian Wess.

“I saw a lot of my fellow vets come back in a bad way, a lot of them with mental health issues and physical issues,” said Wess.

Wess said it’s important our vets get the support their deserve on the home front. This year’s ride benefits the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition.

“We’ve actually had about a 70 percent success rate in getting them from being homeless or living in their car to actually having a job and having a place to live,” said Wess.

Every year, hundreds gather together to ride and remember.

“This is a procession very similar to an honor procession or a funeral procession that we do for our veterans, and that’s really what its about,” said Wess.

This time, they started their trek from Sarges’ Grill in Fountain, going 45 miles with local law enforcement to the Pikes Peak International Raceway.

“We recognize our fallen and missing brothers and sisters, those who’ve been wounded, but we also pay tribute to those who are still serving at all the local military installations,” said Wess.

Over the years, the charity has raised more than $60,000 for other veteran organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

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