In its eighth year, the Nation of Patriots Tour roared through downtown Beaver Dam and out to the Dodge County Fairgrounds with $160,000 in the bank.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” Nation of Patriots Executive Director Bill Sherer said after closing the event.
The event hopes to raise more than $200,000 by the end of the year. Last year, it raised around $180,000. Sherer said that he expects to exceed $190,000 by next week.
Nation of Patriots is a volunteer-driven organization that raises funds to support wounded military veterans and their families. Its primary fundraising mechanism is the 110-day Patriot Tour, during which one American flag travels city to city through all 48 continental states on the back of a motorcycle. More than 150,000 riders participate annually and funds are raised at event stops and by volunteers in each state.
At the top of the celebration on Saturday, four young Junior Patriots lead a Junior Nation of Patriots Tour. The children ages 5-12 pedaled their bikes in front of the homecoming crowd and Logan Arnold, 8, took home the top prize for best-decorated bike. He won a new bicycle.
Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen took part in the celebration and told the crowd that she was humbled and moved by the gathering.
“I find peace in knowing that you care,” she said.
The event began in May and ended this past weekend with a parade of more than 450 riders driving down Front Street and out to the Dodge County Fairgrounds for a homecoming celebration.
This year’s parade included 57 flags carried by volunteer flag bearers, representing all 50 states and the five branches of service, as well as a POW flag and the Nation of Patriots flag.
GALLERY: Nation of Patriots Tour 2017
Photos from the Nation of Patriots Tour on Sept. 9, 2017.
Brooklynn Barchardt leads the Junior Nation of Patriots Tour at the Dodge County Fairgrounds, Sept. 9, 2017.
Leah, Drew, Phyllis and Greg Tratar watching the Nation of Patriots Tour drive through downtown Beaver Dam, Sept. 9, 2017.
Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen searching for the right words during a speech at The Nation of Patiots Tour end, Sept. 9, 2017.
Dominic Barchardt riding his bike through the Junior Nation of Patriots Tour in the Dodge County Fairgrounds, Sept. 9, 2017.
Logan Arnold sitting on his bike before the Junior Nation of Patriots Tour ride at the Dodge County Fairgrounds, Sept. 9, 2017.
At the top of the celebration, four young Junior Patriots lead a Junior Nation of Patriots Tour. The children ages 5-12 peddled their bikes in…