Early on the morning of September 30, 2017, trailheads along the historic Katy Trail and Rock lsland Spur were festively decorated with banners, US flags, and well stocked with supplies to greet the more than 220 bike riders expected for the Missouri State Society Wheeling for Healing Bike Ride.
Joining with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapters across the state sponsored 3L Support and Gear (SAG) stops along the trail, from St Charles west to Clintonand on the spur from Pleasant Hill to Windsor, to benefit active duty military and veterans.
Nearly half a million veterans live in Missouri, which is about ten percent of the state's population. More than 75,000 veterans in Missouri have a service-related disability. "Serving veterans and their families is a key objective of the DAR," said State Regent Susan Bowman at the Opening Ceremony at the Boonville SAG stop hosted by Hannah Cole chapter, Missouri Juniors and state officers.
"l can't think of a better way to raise money for such a worthy cause than getting outdoors to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery Missouri has to offer," said Carol Comer. Comer represented Governor Greitens, the Missouri State parks, and the DNR at the Opening Ceremony at the Boonville SAG stop.
"The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) has learned that the best way our veterans heal is out in nature surrounded by those who love, support, and understand them," said Susan Rew, chair of the event.WWP participant Aaron Bean agrees. He and his son took part in the bike ride. "l had the best time. I rode 70 miles. The (opening) ceremony was very well done. Support and gear were generous. I definitely used my bike for healing today."
"The Wheeling for Healing bike ride is a way I can honor my Marine veteran dad, who was honorably discharged after contracting malaria for the third time in the South Pacific Theater, said Rew. "He died in 2008."
"The bike ride was a key component of the Missouri DAR effort to raise money to support active duty soldiers and veterans, especially wounded warriors," said Bowman. "To date more than 517,300 has been raised toward a $20,000 goal.
Money raised will also support DAR Project Patriot, which supports America's service members and their families."
Opening ceremonies, which included the reading of a Biblical verse, saying the pledge of allegiance to the United States, and singing the national anthem, were held simultaneously across the state at the following trailheads: St. Charles, Greens Bottom, Weldon Spring, Matson, Augusta, Dutzow, Marthasville, Treloar, McKittrick, Rhineland, Portland, Mokane, Tebbetts, N. Jefferson, Hartsburg, McBaine, Hindman Junction, Rocheport New Franklin, Boonville, Pilot Grove, Clifton City, Sedalia, Green Ridge, Pleasant Hill, Medford, Chilhowee, Leeton, Windsor, Calhoun and Clinton.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War with more than 177,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world's largest and most active service organizations. DAR members are committed to volunteer service having served more than 12.5 million hours in communities throughout the world during the past three years.
To learn more about the work of today's DAR, visit www.DAR.org. Missouri Daughters have been serving their communities since 1894.