Red Knights ride pays tribute to veterans

NEW CUMBERLAND – Several dozen area motorcycle enthusiasts, including numerous local firefighters, took to the roads Sunday to raise money for two local causes and to pay tribute to the nation’s veterans.

The sixth-annual Ride for a Reason poker run, organized by the Red Knights WV Chapter VI, was held Sunday with participants riding throughout the Tri-State Area.

Proceeds from the annual poker run benefit the Red Knights’ Victims of Fire Fund, as well as the local Coats for Kids program.

For this year’s ride, organizers planned a theme, dubbing the event “Spirit of America.”

“This year we wanted to do something special,” Red Knights representative Fred Marsh said. “Everything is about being an American.”

Riders would stop at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts as part of Sunday’s journey, with visits planned in Lisbon, Ohio; Highland, Pa. and Chester before finishing at the Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Department near Paris, Pa.

Prior to the ride, participants were greeted by Steve Frank, an Iraqi War veteran, who wished them well.

“Have a great ride and be safe out there,” he said.

Also addressing the riders was Retired Brig. Gen. John “Doc” Bahnsen, of New Cumberland, who served during Vietnam.

Bahnsen relayed some of his own motorcycle stories – most of which he said involved accidents – including the capture of three Honda Super 50s, one of which he kept for himself.

“That’s what I used for my command vehicle,” he said.

Bahnsen said while the nation has its problems, he still believes it is the greatest country in the world, and he encouraged the participants to have a good time during their ride.

“I’m proud to see you all here,” Bahnsen said. “Smile and be proud of our country.”