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'Salute to Veterans' to join Harvest Homecoming lineup

The Evening News and The Tribune - 4/27/2018

April 27--NEW ALBANY -- For those who love motorcycles, Harvest Homecoming and giving back to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, a new event is just for you.

The first "Salute to Veterans" will join the fall tradition's lineup of festivities this September.

According to Don Harshey, member of American Legion Post 28's Legion Riders, the Floyd County branches of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Elks Lodge have raised funds for several years through the Southern Indiana Veterans Task Force. This is the first time they are linking their fundraising to Harvest Homecoming.

The full-day event is Sept. 30 at the New Albany 4-H Fairgrounds. Among the events that day will be a custom motorcycle on display, silent auction, "Wall of Honor" recognizing Floyd County veterans that have passed away, food and motorcycle field events.

"Every penny will be donated to the VA hospital in Louisville's social outreach program," Harshey, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said.

The Louisville VA Medical Center, which also provides services to Southern Indiana, helps homeless veterans get into a stable living situation, and provides household goods and other services for veterans that may have issues qualifying for assistance, Harshey said. In 2016, there were nearly 700 homeless veterans in Indiana, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Together, members of the different posts have raised nearly $30,000 in the past 10 years, Harshey said.

"It's always been a group effort," he said. "... All four branches' motto is 'nobody left behind.' We were the lucky ones, we came back with all our capabilities. It wouldn't be right for us to come back and sit around and not help."

Billy Lawless, a member of the American Legion and son of a World War II veteran, said he thinks it's important to lend a hand because "sometimes they just need a help up."

Lawless and Harshey both said the efforts are worth it to support those willing to put their life on the line for their country.

"Those veterans said they were willing to give everything, up to their own life, for us to have the ability to enjoy a free state." Harshey said. "I hope the community comes out and opens their hearts and their wallets for those who sacrificed for our freedom."

Updates on the event will be posted at www.alr28.com

Erin Walden is the education reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at erin.walden@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2152. Follow her on Twitter: @ErinWithAnEr.

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(c)2018 The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.)

Visit The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.) at newsandtribune.com

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