MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WJMN) – The eight-member squad riding in support of the UP Honor Flight was greeted with cheers on Wednesday as the group ended the first leg of their journey in Manistique. The 200-mile ride began at the top of Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain on Wednesday morning and is set to finish in St. Ignace on Thursday afternoon.
The group is known as the UP Honor Flight Cycling Team and is making the journey as a fundraiser and to spread awareness of the UP Honor Flight. Each cyclist is representing a branch of the U.S. military along the ride.
“I’ve always had a heart for our veterans. My dad’s a World War II Coast Guard Veteran. Family history and it’s just an honor to work and serve for our Veterans,” said Scott Lewellyn, a cyclist representing the Coast Guard. “We have a wonderful board of trustees that does a lot of work and we just want everybody, we want all our veterans to come and sign up”.
Upon arriving in Manistique, the team was welcomed with a reception at the VFW Hall in Manistique. A barbeque and silent auction were also held in support of the cause at the event.
“The organization is unbelievable,” said Dick Ketcick, a Korea Era Army Veteran. “I just can’t, how they keep track of everybody. And they do. There’s a roll call every time you move from place to place. And I was out there way back in ’53 to ’55 when I was in the army. And, of course, a lot of changes since that time. But not in some of the memorials, and some are new, of course. But I had a chance to get to Arlington Cemetery. It’s moving every time you’re there.”
The team received some support along the way, as well. The Iron Mountain VA Hospital shared the following photos to its Facebook page of some hospital residents and staff cheering the cyclists on as they rode past along their journey.
The team is hoping to raise $125,000 through the fundraiser, which would cover the cost of one Honor Flight mission.
You can watch the team finish their journey at the Mackinac Bridge on Thursday when they are set to arrive at about 4 p.m. In case you can’t go in-person, follow the team along as they finish their journey by following the UP Honor Flight Cycling Team Facebook page.
You can support the UP Honor Flight fundraiser here.