By Brenda L. Holmes
Several American Legion Riders groups came together this weekend to raise funds for Susie’s Place, Hendricks County’s child advocacy center.
This year’s ride was co-chaired by Linda Cook, a Danville Legion member, and Bob Mullins, an Avon chapter member.
Cook said she was hoping for more riders but was very pleased at how much they were able to raise for Susie’s Place. They brought in riders from several area American Legion Posts and the general public to raise more than $7,000 for Susie’s Place.
“I’m very happy with what we did financially,” Cook said. “And it was beautiful today.”
At the end of the ride, the event had raised just over $6,000, but participants dug deeper into their pockets.
“We are so grateful for the big push of donations at the end that got us over the $7,000 mark,” said Emily Perry, executive director of Susie’s Place. “We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the community.”
Susie’s Place is a child advocacy center that has trained forensic interviewers who help children tell their stories. The interviewers talk to the children about a variety of issues including physical abuse, witnessing a violent crime, and most often, sexual abuse.
“We’ve been open for three years and have had more than 1,800 kids come through our doors,” Perry said. “We thank you for your support.”
Steve Gilbreath, commander of the Danville American Legion, came to Avon to see the riders off.
“This is what the riders do best,” Gilbreath said. “They give back to the community and do a good job of representing the Legion.”
Avon’s commander, Bruce Curry, greeted the riders at the end of the ride. Avon Post 145 hosted a barbecue lunch.
“They do such a good job of planning this,” Curry said. “The best thing for us to do was support them. It’s in our heritage at the American Legion to give back to the community.”
The Wayne Legion Riders pitched in a $250 sponsorship to help this year’s event and committed to bring some riders. One of the riders from Post 64 that participated was Mike Beck, a Westside resident.
“This was a good experience,” Beck said. “This was for a good cause so I thought I would come out. I will absolutely do it again.”
The date for the 2013 ride has been set for July 20 and will start at the center’s new location. The staff of Susie’s Place has outgrown its currently building and will be moving to a new space in August.
Susie’s Place will be moving to 7519 Beechwood Center Road, Avon. There are many needs for the new center and the staff has published a “wish list” of items they need on the website at www.susiesplace.org.