Motorcycle ride proves therapeutic for veterans | CraigDailyPress.com

Motorcycle ride proves therapeutic for veterans

Patrick Kelly

Combat veterans participating in the 2015 Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis group together around their bikes outside Craig's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265. The venture for those who have served their country passed through Northwest Colorado en route to Sturgis, South Dakota, first starting in Los Angeles.

After getting a taste of the town's charm on their way to Sturgis last year, military veterans on motorcycles will be back in Craig on Thursday.

The Veterans Charity Ride to SturgisVeterans Charity Ride to Sturgis rolled into Craig on its inaugural run in 2015 and has been welcomed back this year with a community barbecue and overnight stay. rolled into Craig on its inaugural run in 2015 and has been welcomed back this year with a community barbecue and overnight stay.

Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis rolled into Craig on its inaugural run in 2015 and has been welcomed back this year with a community barbecue and overnight stay.

U.S. Army Veteran Dave Grabowski said one of the buddies he made while serving in Alaska created the ride to bring veterans together and offer a unique form of escape known as motorcycle therapy.

"We call him 'Indian Dave'," Grabowski said.

In 2015, the convoy, led by Indian Dave, scheduled an hour in Craig but ended up staying much longer to enjoy the small-town vibe.

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The crew enjoyed Craig so much that it signed up for a full stop over on this year's ride.

"I said, 'Hey, the community wants you to stay here,'" Grabowski said. "So, they put us on their schedule."

Grabowski said that Craig's welcoming nature brought the riders back.

"What they liked in Craig was that small-town, home community that really shows veteran appreciation," he said.

The group of 20 riders, doubling from last year's participants, is expected to arrive in Craig Thursday afternoon and a community barbecue at Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post 4265 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

JB Chapman is providing a hog for the cook out and said he is eager to welcome veterans, just like the rest of the community.

"We're in a small town — you got to give back — and what a cause," he said. "You can't say thank you enough to these people."

The Clarion Inn & Suites is helping out with discounted rates and five free rooms for the veterans overnight stay.

VFW Post 4265 Quartermaster Mark Wick said Craig is community's response last year was amazing and he hopes everyone will com out to thank the veterans on Thursday.

"These riders really enjoyed that hometown feeling and that true welcome they got in Craig," he said. "It was a real hometown welcome."

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.