WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL: MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO BENEFIT IN KANSAS - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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10/01/2018

WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL: MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO BENEFIT IN KANSAS


A benefit motorcycle ride scheduled for this coming weekend will help a planned World War II memorial at Gage Park become one step closer to reality.
A benefit motorcycle ride scheduled for this coming weekend will help a planned World War II memorial at Gage Park become one step closer to reality.

The "Freedom is Not Free Ride" is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Gage Park Memorial, located in the southeast area of the park near S.W. 10th and Gage.

Organizers of the ride said the memorial will include three jet-black granite tablets, two of which will have maps of the Pacific and European theaters and the other with a picture of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaking to paratroopers on the day before D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The World War II memorial will cost approximately $64,000, with approximately $26,000 having been raised to date. It will be placed with several other memorials and markers honoring military veterans at the Gage Park Memorial.

Roland Mayhew, of Topeka, who is Kansas State Council president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said he was hopeful the remaining $38,000 for the World War II Memorial would be raised by 2019. He said the motorcycle ride should be a big help to the fundraising effort.
"The bike ride raised $5,000 for it last year," said Mayhew, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. "That's why it is very important."

In addition to being among about a dozen volunteers who are working on the World War II Memorial at Gage Park, Mayhew also drives a van for the Disabled American Veterans organization in Topeka.

Many other men and women in the Topeka area also volunteer on a regular basis on behalf of military veterans in the area.

Among them is Carrie Thompson, who is assisting with the Gage Park Memorial project.

Thompson, who said she wasn't a veteran, got involved after another Gage Park Memorial volunteer, Darlene Lillo, approached her about purchasing a commemorative brick to honor family members who had served in the military. Thompson said she has purchased several bricks.

"It's a real asset to our community to have this," Thompson said of the memorial. "A lot of people don't even know it's here."

Another volunteer serving local veterans is Michael Slusser, who served for 29 years in the U.S. Army and is past commander and current quartermaster of Philip Billard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1650 in Topeka.

Slusser said the VFW post has about 700 members, but only a handful who are active in the organization. Slusser said he would like to see more younger veterans take part in the VFW's programs in the Topeka area.

"We're trying to inspire our community veterans to join the organization," Slusser said. "We've got a core of about 15 or 20 people who try to do everything. We could do so much more if we had more involvement."

(c) 2018 The Topeka Capital-Journal. Visit The Topeka Capital-Journal at www.cjonline.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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