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Limo Patriot Ride Goes All Out For Military Veterans

Jim Luff
Posted on April 4, 2018
Riders get ready to roll out for fourth annual Limo Patriot Ride, Thursday, March 15, 2018 (photos by Jim Luff)
Riders get ready to roll out for fourth annual Limo Patriot Ride, Thursday, March 15, 2018 (photos by Jim Luff)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. --- The skies were filled with ominous black clouds lingering over Las Vegas as the sun rose on March 15. The threat of rain would not dampen the spirits or enthusiasm of the 39 riders registered for the fourth annual Limo Patriot Ride that followed the Show. The weather would provide many surprises during the motorcycle ride benefitting the Semper Fi Fund.

The Las Vegas-based Patriot Guard Riders once again led the way after a brief safety meeting with the group before departing to Valley of Fire National Park.

The Limo Patriot Ride benefits the charity the Semper Fi Fund. The non-profit charity was the vision of Karen Guenther, a registered nurse who was working with wounded Marines and sailors as they returned home from Iraq for post-war care in 2003. Along with other military spouses, Guenther realized the many challenges veterans faced and began organizing “Welcome Home” parties and preparing welcome home bags to lift the spirits of these wounded heroes. They began fundraising for the parties, the bags, and even travel funds to get relatives to spend time with the vets.

The efforts soon blossomed into a 501-C3 non-profit organization. The success of Guenther’s dream expanded far beyond the dream of helping three wounded Marines. The organization now has paid staff members and hundreds of volunteers who serve thousands of vets returning home from combat.

Industry operators, vendors, and sponsors collectively raised $35,000 for the Semper Fi Fund that helps military veterans and their families.
Industry operators, vendors, and sponsors collectively raised $35,000 for the Semper Fi Fund that helps military veterans and their families.
When operators Michael Callahan, Ron Stein, David Eckstein, Barry Gross, and Lynda Saitta learned of the foundation, they set their mind to help raise money for the group. Under the leadership of Saitta, the 2018 Limo Patriot Ride presented a check to Semper Fi for $35,000 on behalf of the entire limousine industry. The Limo Patriot Ride continues to bring the industry together with operators, coachbuilders, and other vendors coming together to support the cause.

Jeff Brodsly, CEO of Chosen Payments, served as emcee of the pre-party ride held the night before at the Mandalay Bay. He took a moment to recognize Century Business Solutions, a competitor for also coming to the table with a sponsorship. The companies associated with the event organizers also contributed financial support.

Dawson Rutter, owner and CEO of Commonwealth Worldwide in Boston, was not an organizer or rider but still sponsored at the Platinum level. The generosity of the industry generated $5,000 over the 2017 donation amount. Other participating companies included Grace Limousine, Addison Lee, Valera Global, Exclusive Sedan Service, Premier Transportation of Dallas, The Driver Provider, Slade Services, and Duke’s Limousine to name a few. Vendors who ponied up for the cause included Chosen Payments, Grech Motors, Livery Coach, Century Business Solutions, and Titus Leasing.

A pre-ride launch party on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino raillied participants and supporters for a noble cause.
A pre-ride launch party on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino raillied participants and supporters for a noble cause.
The Pre-Ride Party

While there were 39 registered riders, the pre-party held at Border Grill inside Mandalay Bay had drawn more than 100 supporters, where raffle tickets were sold and veterans Joseph Perez and Hector Delgado delivered heartfelt speeches. NLA President Gary Buffo seemed visibly moved by the speeches of the former Marines who choked up as they shared their stories on how the Semper Fi Fund has enhanced their lives and filled voids where the federal Veterans Administration system had failed them for expenses, such as education.

A silent auction was held and Brodsly put the pressure on audience members for things such as designer purses and a custom cigar box handcrafted by Perez. The party culminated with members of the committee presenting a check to Vanessa Keane, senior manager of community outreach and events for the Semper Fi Fund. Mandalay Bay donated two rooms for Perez and Delgado.

The weather at first cooperated, then didn't, and then favored the riders again later in the day.
The weather at first cooperated, then didn't, and then favored the riders again later in the day.
The Ride

The dark skies gave way to blue skies and the ride kicked off after a breakfast served by Ciccio and Chuck -- The Great Italian Food Truck.

Breakfast for the riders was provided courtesy of the Las Vegas Knights of Columbus. Grace Limousine & Shuttle sponsored the lunch.

The Las Vegas-based Patriot Guard Riders once again led the way after a brief safety meeting with the group before departing to Valley of Fire National Park.

One rider sums up the spirit and heart of the event.
One rider sums up the spirit and heart of the event.
As the ride progressed, the black skies returned and unleashed a torrent of rain and hail on the riders as they neared their lunch spot. Undeterred, the riders pressed on as the hail pelted their faces and bodies, said Sarah McKee, an event organizer and rider. After lunch, the black clouds gave way to blue skies as the riders returned to Las Vegas under sunnier, clearer weather. “We rode out into blue skies, experienced thunder, lightning and hail, and rode back under blue skies,” Saitta said.

Related Topics: fundraiser, ILCT 2018, industry charity, Las Vegas, LImo Patriot Ride

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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