The Purple Clarion

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The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

Gold Star Riders bunk in Dog house

Golden Star Mission Riders go on a 500-mile bike ride in honor of all  fallen soldiers. It’s a five-day bike ride to raise money and support funds to carry on their legacy.

Bikers visited HHS. Sept. 21. According to history teacher Marj DeNeal, many were very excited to host them. The band played and the cheerleaders cheered as the group arrived. Key Club and White Hat members volunteered to direct traffic as everyone arrived.

Later, the riders had  dinner at the American Legion before sleeping in the auxiliary gym until leaving the next morning to continue their journey. Before leaving, they presented principal Scott Dewar with a certificate of appreciation.

¨History Club is honored to help the Golden Star mission. We are setting up a veteran wall and hope all of this raises awareness of the sacrifice that our men and women give us,¨  DeNeal said.

One thing the group does is offer scholarships to students.

¨All you have to do is sign up, and you might be lucky enough to get a scholarship. If you do end up being selected you will get a silver bracelet that has one of the soldiers’ names that has passed away in honor of them,¨ said Sandy Etheridge who helped coordinate the visit.

This group is always looking for people to join or help tell their story about the soldiers, so they can always live on.

¨I lost my son in Afghanistan, and one of the leaders of the Gold Star Mission saw my Gold Star license plate and my sticker of my son when he was in town and contacted somebody that he knew would know me and asked me to call them. Then, they invited me to their banquet, where they invited the Gold Star families, and the scholarship recipients. I talked to the leader, and I was seated with one of the students who got a scholarship in my son’s name. I was delighted by all this. Ever since then I have been hooked,¨  Susan Weikert said.

A big goal for the group is to promote awareness of the fallen.

¨Always remember, never forget is their biggest motto, and the goal is to spread awareness for the fallen soldiers and never forget them. Always keep the Legacy going,¨  Weikert said.

Determination  is necessary. to endure the ride.

¨The bike riders seem to stay about the same. They end up with about 20 to 40 bike riders depending on the year, but the amount of scholarships, donations, and amount of people they have been able to reach in the Gold Star families have grown every year,¨ said Weikert.

The group has now expanded to include international families

¨Last year the Illinois National Guard that began this ride has a cohort in Poland, and the two teams fought together in Afghanistan. So there are Gold Star parents of Polish soldiers that lost soldiers in Afghanistan. Last year they invited those soldiers to come and ride with us over here so last year we had Polish soldiers and Polish fallen families riding with us and last year was absolutely amazing,¨ Weikert said.


March 15, 2024

Senior Frankie Leigh Nicholes was awarded the Gold Star Mission scholarship. Nicholes applied after hearing about the scholarship when the riders visited. Nicholes will attend John A. Logan College in the fall.

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Kennedy Borders
Kennedy Borders, Staff Writer
Kennedy Borders is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year on the Purple Clarion staff. She works at Dairy Queen. In her off time she likes to hang out around her house or hang out with her friends.  “I think journalism is important because you get the latest news and what's going on currently. Take a picture so you can look back into the past.”    

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