Article and pictures submitted by Bob Agnes
America has been unbelievably good to me. Although I am not a veteran, several years ago it became clear to me that it was time to say thank you to this wonderful country we all have had the good fortune to live in. My choice was to support our veterans, the people who have maintained our freedoms for as long as we have been an independent nation. After doing some research, Fisher House became the obvious choice.
I joined Chai Riders after Eli Hyman told about the JMA at his Hyman’s Seafood Restaurant in Charleston, SC while my wife Ilana and I downed amazing fresh seafood platters last January. We had stopped in Charleston to have a look on our way home from Florida. As we wandered around the historic section, we were seduced into having lunch there by the intoxicating free hush puppies the gal standing by the door handed us with every time we passed the place. The JMA came up after I told Eli about my fund raising and awareness mega motorcycle rides promoting the Fisher House Foundation. After talking to a couple of folks at JMA, I contacted Lauren Secular, who invited me to the Chai Riders annual meeting at Katz’s Deli on Houston Street in New York City.
Ride For Vets – 2021 is the second in a series of mega distance motorcycle events benefitting the Fisher house Foundation. The event kicks off on April 18th, 2021 in Albany, NY. I’ll then be riding my Harley to 60 of the 90 Fisher House facilities in the lower 48 states and Alaska and wind up back in Albany 18,000 miles and 77 days later, on July 4th. Albany is the site of the first Fisher House, which opened in 1991. The events goals are 1, to raise $250,000 and 2, to tell America the incredible Fisher House story. Fisher House has received an A+ rating, the highest available, from the major charity rating services for the last 17 years because 93% of donations received goes directly to veteran’s programs. While Fisher House certainly needs donations to continue their good work on behalf of our veterans, it is the Fisher House story that the JMA is uniquely positioned to amplify, with their network of clubs and members.
Details about the event can be found at Ride for Vets. Club members who would like to participate by registering to join the ride for a leg or two or contribute in some other way can do so at the ride’s website. The ride’s schedule can be found here, Ride Schedule, and the event registration is here, Ride Registration. I am asking the JMA and our members to help Ride For Vets – 2021 benefitting Fisher House reach its goals.
A little background about me. After conferring with their national office in Maryland in 2017, I developed and ran the 8 Ball Ride benefitting Fisher House. That event began on May 28th, 2018, traveled to 48 state capitals in 48 days and ended on my 80th birthday, ergo the name. The event received 8 state proclamations, raised some donations and enlightened a few folks along the way about Fisher House. But it could have been better with more time for planning. With that in mind, I began working on Ride For Vets in September 2019. I’ll be 10 days short of my 83rd trip around the sun by the time this event ends. The E-Book, Tales From The 8 Ball Ride, a compilation of the blogs I wrote during that ride will be available on Amazon and other digital sites by the end of October. An e-book about Ride For Vets is forthcoming.
I am a retired business executive (16 years ago) with 40+ years in senior management with a several public air cargo companies and for 16 years as the Principal of my own logistics company. I received a BA from Queens College. I have also been an avid long-distance motorcycle rider for 38 years, with many 5,000-mile+ rides behind me. I am Chairperson of Ride For Vets, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, EIN 84-4987206. My wife and I usually reside in Manhattan but have been staying in up-state New York while Covid – 19 is active. We have five children and six grandchildren.
Hopefully, the JMA and our members will find this event worthy of their support.