(Beaver Dam) Organizers with the Patriot Tour took time to reflect on the past ten years during a ceremony over the weekend in Beaver Dam. The city has become the official home of the fundraiser for veterans that sees one American flag travel by motorcycle over 14-thousand miles through 48 states between May and September, passed along city-to-city by 110 flag-bearers.
“Only in our dreams did we think that our effort could be a ground-swelling national event,” says Brad Weber with the Nation of Patriots, “and now I stand in front of you ten years later and I am proud to say ‘look around and look what all of us have done.”
Nation of Patriots Founder and Executive Director Bill Sherer was the lone rider in year one, but he could not make it the whole way.
“A lot of people ask me did you ever see yourself getting this far,” Sherer told the crowd, “and at that moment, the answer to that question was ‘no, we thought this thing was over’.”
The Patriot Tour only raised $2100 that first year. Thoughts of failure started to lift when the money was given to a veteran and organizers regrouped.
“But it was funny because in that failure,” he says, “we realized we actually did a few things right and what we had here could actually work.”
For year two, Sherer began enlisting flag-bearers nationwide.
“We had to retool,” Sherer says, “And what we decided to do was focus this entire thing in 2010 on the American flag because it is a symbol that unites us.”
When asked if he ever thought the Patriot Tour would get this big, Sherer says he changed his answer from “no” to an “absolute yes” that first time in 2010 when he saw the flag return home.
“I can’t explain it to you but I knew,” Sherer says, “that the Patriot Tour worked, it was a good thing, we’re going to keep it a good thing and it was going to keep going on right until this very moment ten years later.”
The group this year reached the $1-million-dollar mark in funds collected for veterans.
Watch the Patriot Tour’s arrival ceremony here:
Watch the Patriot Tour’s departure ceremony here:
Watch Nation of Patriots Founder and Executive Director Bill Sherer on WBEV here:
(Beaver Dam) Nation of Patriots founder Bill Sherer discusses the return of the Patriot Tour to Beaver Dam on Saturday, September 7. The non-profit Nation of Patriots coordinates the fundraising journey that sees a series of flag-bearers carry one American flag by motorcycle, city-to-city, through all 48 contiguous states. Nation of Patriots volunteer Tracy Probst with Downtown Beaver Dam Inc discusses the events taking place in and around the city in conjunction with the arrival. The Nation of Patriots: Patriot Tour Homecoming return ceremony will be at Beaver Dam's Swan Park at 1pm Saturday. A motorcycle parade will begin at noon on Madison Street, to Front Street then on to University Avenue.
Posted by Daily Dodge on Wednesday, September 4, 2019