Motorcycle ride in Clinton Township to raise funds for veterans

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 19, 2019

 About 300 motorcyclists rode in the 2018 Wolverine Harley Davidson Ride for Freedom, an approximate 60-mile trek around Macomb County that raises money for veterans. This year’s event is June 23.

About 300 motorcyclists rode in the 2018 Wolverine Harley Davidson Ride for Freedom, an approximate 60-mile trek around Macomb County that raises money for veterans. This year’s event is June 23.

Photo provided by Wolverine Harley Davidson, Clinton Township

 A motorcycle memor-ializes names of vets last year.

A motorcycle memor-ializes names of vets last year.

Photo provided by Wolverine Harley Davidson, Clinton Township

 A memorial shows a helmet sitting atop a lateral rifle at the 2018 event.

A memorial shows a helmet sitting atop a lateral rifle at the 2018 event.

Photo provided by Wolverine Harley Davidson, Clinton Township

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Get on your bike and ride!

The 17th annual Ride for Freedom will begin at 9 a.m. June 23 with a continental breakfast at Wolverine Harley Davidson, 44660 N. Gratiot Ave. in Clinton Township. At about 11:30 a.m., rain or shine, an estimated 300 motorcyclists will hit the pavement for a 60-mile trek around Macomb County, up to the New Baltimore and Marine City area and back.

When riders return, they will receive a free dinner courtesy of Texas Roadhouse. Refreshments and live music will also be on hand.

Mark Erickson, the marketing and events coordinator for Wolverine Harley Davidson, said on June 13 that about 150 riders were already registered. That number usually doubles due to the number of day-of registrations.

All proceeds from the event will be split in half this year, with 50% going to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit, and 50% going to the Fisher House, a place where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while their loved ones receive treatment.

“Some of the guys, this is their last home,” Erickson said. “They have no other place to turn.”

Pat Daniels started the event as a way to give back to those who serve and have served. In the past, money raised has gone to give veterans social opportunities they otherwise likely wouldn’t be able to experience, such as watching the Detroit Tigers play at Comerica Park or seeing musicians live in concert.

Daniels even owns a Vietnam era-style motorcycle, paying homage to those who risked their lives.

“(Daniels is) well-known in the veterans community, and well-known in the community itself just for doing these kinds of things,” Erickson said.

In past years, this event has raised upward of $17,000, all from registration fees, donations and even selling military-themed hats and apparel.

“Every year, it just seems like someone comes through,” Erickson said. “It’s the same people that volunteer every year, so we keep it going.”

About 30-40 volunteers play their roles the day of the event, setting up tents and food areas. People can come and have a good time, even if they don’t want to participate in the ride.

The military-themed Green Knights International is running the event this year, which will include the playing of taps and the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance.

“This is our biggest ride of the year,” he said.

Those who want to donate or register can visit the Wolverine location either prior to or on the day of the ride. Call (586) 463-7700 for more details.