Red River Valley Motorcyclists club donates to projects honoring veterans, fallen law enforcement officers

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Aug. 2—GRAND FORKS — The Red River Valley Motorcyclists, a nonprofit organization, has donated more than $41,000 to three projects honoring area veterans and fallen law enforcement officers, according to Larry Gaddie, the club's president.

The motorcycle group donated $10,000 to the Grand Forks Park District for continued improvements to and maintenance of the Veterans Memorial Park in southwest Grand Forks. The donation may be used however the Park Board chooses, Gaddie said.

The motorcyclists club has also given $21,500 to the proposed Northern Valley Law Enforcement Memorial and $10,000 to the Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN.

Including this most recent donation, the club has contributed $115,000 to the Veterans Memorial Park project, Gaddie said.

The park, which has been a major focus of the club's fundraising efforts for years, is located at 34th Street South and 24th Avenue. It was officially dedicated Sept. 11, 2021.

The Northern Valley Law Enforcement Memorial, which will be located at Optimist Park, 4600 Cherry St., will recognize and honor law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. When completed, the memorial will represent federal, Canadian, Minnesota and North Dakota law enforcement members who have died in the northern Red River Valley.

This latest donation "means a lot" to the group committed to the project, said retired Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost, who heads the steering committee. "The Red River Valley Motorcyclists have been very supportive of the (memorial)."

In total, the motorcycle club has donated $51,000 to the memorial project in the past two years, Gaddie said.

The steering committee is working to raise $250,000 for the memorial. About $60,000 more in donations is needed to advance the project, and more fundraising activities are likely to be planned for this fall, said Rost, who's been working on the project for four years.

Grand Forks is the largest North Dakota community that does not have a memorial dedicated to fallen law enforcement officers, he said.

The memorial will honor law enforcement officers who served in eight counties in northeastern North Dakota, eight counties in northwestern Minnesota, and in Manitoba. Granite sections will be dedicated for U.S., North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada, Rost said.

To make a donation to the Northern Valley Law Enforcement Memorial, go to

www.gfparksfoundation.org/north-valley-law-enforcement-memorial/

and click on "Donate Today." Donations are tax deductible through the park district foundation.

For the first time, the Veterans Honor Flight will leave from Grand Forks this fall. The flight, scheduled to depart Sept. 11, will transport veterans to Washington, D.C., for an all-expenses-paid visit to military and other historic landmarks. The group will stay two nights in the nation's capital. In the past, these flights have left from Fargo.

With its most recent $10,000 donation, the motorcyclists club has given nearly $100,000 to the honor flight organization for the benefit of area veterans, Gaddie said.

The Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN is a nonprofit organization created solely to honor veterans for their sacrifices. For more information or to make a donation to support the Honor Flight program, go to

https://www.veteranshonorflightndmn.org

. Next month's flight may be filled and a waiting list has been started, said Don Roberts, local organizer. To apply and get registered to participate in a future Honor Flight, contact him at (701) 746-8261.

The Red River Valley Motorcyclists raise funds through its annual Spirit of America Car and Bike Show, held annually on the first weekend in May. Next year's event is set for May 6-7 at the Alerus Center. Those who purchase raffle tickets, sold for $50 each, will be eligible to win prizes that altogether are worth $80,000, Gaddie said.