Bikers ride for veteran suicide awareness
2 Wheels 2 Heal raises money for Mission 22.
NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - 22 veterans take their lives each day in America, and Mankato’s 2 Wheels 2 Heal motorcycle ride raises awareness to help all veterans who struggle with mental health issues.
“Our big goal today- I can’t emphasize enough- is we know about it, we care, and we’re trying everything we can to prevent veteran suicide and really get ahead of this issue. Because 22 a day is way too many, we need to be at zero,” state leader for Mission 22 Loren Files said.
2 Wheels 2 Heal raises money for Mission 22: a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending veteran suicide with programs and activities.
“You never know the battle people are fighting internally. So, don’t judge. Get somebody’s story before you make a decision about who that person is- you never know what it is,” army veteran and passenger rider,” army veteran and passenger rider Anita Kenning said.
Loren Files started 2 Wheels 2 Heal to promote awareness about Mission 22 and build a community through the love of bikes.
“I’ve been riding since 1988, I’ve been on thousands of motorcycle runs. So, its like, ‘we can put on a run.’ And a lot of veterans ride bikes,” Files said.
Saturday’s ride started at the Circle Inn bar and the bikers rode 120 miles through Sleepy Eye, Nicolet, and arriving back in North Mankato. The event also featured a raffle, food, a pop-up patch shop, and live music, which was all open to the public.
“We’ve got a number of things like that going on, where ‘hey, come down,’ mutually beneficial for the whole community. That’s kind of our goal, to build a community movement around this issue,” Files said.
2 Wheels 2 Heal raised $16,500 in just biker registration fees. Members also gave in free-will donations for the cause.
“I’m just glad I’m here to actually physically help support something I feel strongly about. I can help my friends, my battles, everything like that,” Kenning said.
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