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Halifax County legion members participate in cross-country trek

“A trip worthwhile,” is how Post 8 American Legion member Kenny Irby describes his recent cross-country motorcycle venture as a participant in the eighth annual American Legion Legacy Ride.

Last week, Irby and riding partner, Quincy Thomas, a member of the Sons of the American Legion traveled from Indianapolis, Indiana to Houston, Texas, in the annual fundraiser that raises scholarship money for youth who have lost parents on or after 9/11 in active duty. This year Legacy Riders raised $775,000, Irby said.

About 200 members of the American Legion Riders from all over the country gathered in Indianapolis with their motorcycles on Aug. 18 to make the cross-country journey to Houston, Texas where the annual American Legion convention was being held on Aug. 25.

Irby, Thomas and four riders from Danville left for Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug. 16, and Irby said it took them two days to get there.

As the riders made their way to Texas, they stopped along the way, collecting more riders as the trip progressed.

By the time the group reached Texas, approximately 300 riders were part of their motorcycle caravan, Irby said.

Along the way, the riders stopped at various Legion Posts where they received warm welcomes and delicious meals.

They also visited the Missouri Veterans Home in St. James, Mo., a Veterans Hospital in Muskogee, Okla. and had lunch with soldiers at Fort Hood in Killeen, Tex.

 Irby said the riders traveled during the day and stayed at hotels at night.

The weather was excellent for motorcycle riding, and they only experienced one rain shower along the way, he reported.

“It was OK because it was hot, and it felt good,” Irby said of the rain shower.

According to the Post 8 Legion member, he traveled approximately 3,650 miles in five days to reach Houston, Tex.

Although he has been a member of the legion for 20 years and a member of the riders for eight, Irby said it was his first time participating in the Legacy Ride. 

 Irby said what he enjoyed most about the trip was meeting people and seeing the outpouring of support for the Legacy Riders.

His most memorable moment of the ride occurred when he and other riders went under the first overpass where a crowd of supporters waved flags and cheered them on as they rode down the highway.

While the trip was an unforgettable experience for Irby, he said it was one thing he dreaded the most, getting up early every morning.

The weirdest thing Irby said that happened on the trip was when a hawk almost attacked a motorcyclist as he rode down the highway.

Another fond memory he carries with him from the trip was when a double amputee who lost his legs in Afghanistan joined them in the ride on his custom-made Harley Davison motorcycle.

While on the road, the Navy veteran said he did become lonely sometimes and missed his wife, Shirley, his daughter, Nicole Fisher, and his grandson, Eliah.

Irby said the trip was definitely worthwhile and for a great cause, and he looks forward to participating in the ride next year when the convention will be held in Charlotte, N.C.