Stopping By: Help on wheels

The desire to help veterans brings them together. The thrill of the open road binds them.

The roar of a dozen or two powerful motorcycles carrying American flags? That gets them noticed.

“With those flags flying, it’s a beautiful thing to see,” said Jeri Paull, secretary of American Legion Post 21’s American Legion Riders group.

She is one of about 50 patriotic motorcycle owners associated with the local organization.

It’s not a motorcycle club, members are quick to say. They don’t like that terminology, because it can carry a negative connotation.

Director Jerry Perry Jr. said theirs is an organization that’s intent only on doing good. He said it escorts honored veterans, helps with memorial ceremonies, raises money for vets and Legion endeavors, and shines attention on veterans’ causes.

“We’re one of the most visible parts of the Legion family,” said Gale Sears, a Rider also serving as commander of Post 21.

The Riders are a rolling demonstration of the mission of the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the Legion Auxiliary. They embody the latter’s motto: “For God and country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.”

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919, following World War I. It is open to men and women who have been on active duty during periods of war.

In 1993, a pair of Legion members who loved motorcycles invited like-minded members of the Legion, Sons and