WORCESTER, Mass. — On Saturday, hundreds of bikers hit the road for a good cause at the 9th Annual Salute Our Veterans Motorcycle Ride.

What You Need To Know

  • On Saturday, hundreds of bikers participated in the Salute Our Veterans Motorcycle Ride

  • The Worcester event helps raise money for Project New Hope

  • Project New Hope helps veterans and their families with free retreats, wellness programs and more

  • The ride began at Wagner Motorsports and ended at the Vernon Hill American Legion

The event, sponsored by Wagner Motorsports, helps raise money for Project New Hope, an organization that helps local veterans.

“We’re proud to have everybody in the Worcester community get out and wave and show their support for this ride,” Mark Wagner, president of Wagner Motorsports, said. “It’s wonderful to see that local community support.”

For 13 years, Project New Hope has helped veterans and their families with free retreats, wellness and education programs, and food pantries. President and CEO Bill Moore said events like this keep the nonprofit running strong.

“We’re averaging about 600 veterans between the two offices coming in for food, and it’s all curbside pickup,” Moore said. “It’s very important with the food insecurity going on and paychecks not going that far, we’ve been getting a lot of veterans, older veterans as well, coming in for the assistance.”

Moore, an Air Force veteran himself, was thrilled to see more motorcycles than ever before at the starting line this year after a few down years due to the pandemic.

“Last year, we had over 200 motorcycles come out to support this ride, and it increases every year,” Moore said. “As you can see around here, we’ve got a lot of veterans organizations, the Legion riders, the VFW, the Sons of Blackwater, we’ve got a lot of motorcycle clubs coming in here and supporting the mission, and they do a great job for the community, these motorcyclists.”

For veterans participating in Saturday’s ride like Arthur Lecesse, commander of the local chapter of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association, showing support for Project New Hope is a no-brainer.

He’s glad organizations like this now exist to meet the needs of veterans who may not have had those resources immediately after their service.

“Catch the public’s eye, catch the public’s attention to ensure that what happened and how our brothers in arms were treated when they came back from Vietnam never happens again,” Lecesse said. “It’s part of the mantra and why we constantly push and help make sure that veterans and everything we do is something people never forget.”

From Aug. 20 to 25, Project New Hope will also be hosting a PTSD Veterans Retreat in Griswold, Connecticut. The event will help those suffering from PTSD figure out where they’re going, and how to use their traumas and trials as fuel to live.