Gold Star Mission riders raise awareness for military families

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - On Tuesday night, 36 riders biking through Illinois stopped in Quincy. They’re riding 500 miles across the state of Illinois to raise awareness for military families who have lost loved ones.

The Gold Star Mission organization said heroes die twice, once when they take their last breath and again when their name is spoken for the last time.

Lonnie Lucas is a rider who has served in the Illinois National Guard for more than 20 years. He said he’s riding to keep his friend’s name alive.

“I have a battle buddy. In 2005, she was killed in Iraq and so for me, this helps me to keep her name alive,” Lucas said.

Vonda Rogers said her family is a gold star family. She lost her son Joshua who served.

“He’s my hero because he showed up that first day,” Rogers said. “He volunteered to go put all of his personal freedoms aside to fight for our freedom.”

Deborah Whitaker said she supports their mission as two of her kids are currently serving in the military and she lost a son 10 years ago who also served.

“I walked with my son’s army boots today. They were a set that he had taken to Afghanistan and we have $530 in those boots. So I will donate that tomorrow,” Whitaker said. “They can fill up vehicles and away they go.”

The riders are all set to ride another 120 miles Wednesday.

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