Eric Frein in Custody

Salute To Veterans Ride

SCRANTON — In Lackawanna County, hundreds of riders came out to help raise money for local veterans.

It was the 13th annual Salute To Veterans ride starting in Scranton and through the mid-valley.

Organizers said the ride honors all people who gave their lives for our country and those who continue the fight.

One by one, bikers lined up in Scranton to give back to those who gave everything.

“There’s a lot of people still out there missing, and I do this because they’re still out there, and I will continue until the day I die,” said Mike Gubash, navy veteran.

“Because everybody else forgets about them so you know we do it for the POWs and the MIA,” said Luis Ortiz of White Haven.

This was the 13th annual Salute to Veterans Ride, put on by the motorcycle group, Rolling Thunder.

The 40-mile ride starts in Scranton, then heads to the Abingtons and Fleetville, then through the mid-valley, and back.

It helps raise awareness for veterans’ issues and benefits the residents’ welfare fund.

Riders said the day’s turnout was impressive.

“Yeah, really very good, you know, especially since they called for rain, there are a lot of bikers, they all feel the same way,” said Carol Powell of Stroudsburg.

For some others, the ride is very close to their hearts, like Amanda Belles whose father and uncle both fought in Vietnam, and made this ride a yearly tradition.

Now she brings her son to teach him the importance of honoring our veterans.

“They are the forgotten, they are the war that no one pays attention to, everybody ignores, so we come and we watch it very proudly, and he loves the bikes, and he doesn’t make a peep,” said Belles.

Organizers hope to raise thousands of dollars from the ride, especially during these tough economic times.

“With the cutbacks the state’s making, the state funds this center, the money raised here goes for non-budgeted items for the veterans here at this center,” said Anthony Valunas, Rolling Thunder President.

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