(Beaver Dam) Organizers with the Patriot Tour say their most prized possession had some challenges crossing the finish line in the early years. 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. Founder Bill Sherer told us their still-developing network of riders left volunteers wondering early on if the flag was ever going to make it back home to Wisconsin. He says everyone was in contact through email and organizers relied heavily on the word of people they had never meet that they would meet up at the right locations to pass along the flag.
Sherer says the whole fundraiser could have easily fallen apart many times but did not, thanks to the patriotism of people and their passion for the flag. During Wednesday’s Community Comment program, Sherer shared one such instance four years ago when the flag was passing through Montana and no one as available to bring it to its next leg in the journey. He says there was real concern the flag would have to be shipped back to Wisconsin until a random volunteer quietly stepped up. Sherer says the man and his wife took off work, jumped on their bike and drove fifteen hours one way to pick up the flag and another seven hours to get it back on course. The flag now has its own cell phone.
The Patriot tour is set to return to Beaver Dam this weekend. A ceremony will be at the Beaver Dam’s Swan Park this Saturday with a motorcycle parade to begin at noon on Madison Street. The organization is hoping to surpass the one-million-dollar mark in money raised for veterans over the past ten years.