Watertown Daily News
Ride to raise education funds
COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS: Legion Riders to set out on Midwest Legacy Run
By SARAH HAASE
TIMES STAFF WRITER
SACKETS HARBOR — Four members of the Sackets Harbor Legion Riders will ride out to the Midwest — making four stops along the way — to raise money for college scholarships.
On Sunday, Leonard R. Misczuk, John A. Repaty and Maggie Moore, all of Sackets Harbor, and Philip A. Seybert of LaFargeville will accompany 333 other riders taking part in the American Legion Legacy Run. Riders will start burning hundreds of gallons of gasoline and travel thousands of miles in an ongoing effort to raise $20 million for children of soldiers who have died on active military duty.
Over the past five years, the Legacy Run has raised $2.9 million, with the first $2,000 scholarship awarded in 2004. The group said that once it has reached the $20 million mark, the scholarship fund will be able to sustain itself through accrued interest.
The Sackets Harbor chapter of Legion Riders was established in 2004. It was the first in Jefferson County and one of the first five in the state.
"The riders share a love of country and patriotism that weaves its way through our lives," Mr. Repaty said.
This is Mr. Repaty's first Legacy Run. The retired Marine, who fought in the Vietnam War, has been involved with other charity rides, but none this far or this long.
"I started to realize that ever since 9-11, the tempo of deployment has really increased, and we started losing a lot more active-duty military," Mr. Repaty said. "I tried to imagine the challenges families would face if the main breadwinner was no longer there. This is something I could really put my heart into."
Mrs. Moore has been a member of the Legion for about a year. She said she joined just so she could be part of the Legion Riders. The ride is not only a physical challenge for her but an opportunity to support a cause.
"I've never done a long-distance ride like this before," she said. "To do a five-day run — to just get on and ride — that's what I love to do. And to meet people that share the enthusiasm that we have will be great. As part of a working-class family, I couldn't imagine doing it all on my own. Those families really need the help because they have given the ultimate sacrifice."
The Legacy Run was established in October 2001 but failed to gain traction again until 2006, when the effort resumed. In 2006, the ride brought in about $163,000. After that, the number of riders — and amount of money raised — increased significantly.
"Our acting director in the state challenged each chapter to raise $500," Mr. Misczuk said. "We did that in a matter of weeks. The Legion ourselves have raised $2,000, and I think we've got about another $800 from other sources."
And while the riders plan to leave Thursday to reach Indianapolis by Sunday, donations will be accepted all week long.
"If someone can't put the $17.1 million in a check, we'll still take partial payments," Mr. Repaty said.
The riders said they expect the trip will prove to be unforgettable.
"It's an adventure of a lifetime," Mrs. Moore said. "I figured I'd take it while I have the chance."