As the road captain of American Legion Riders (ALR) Post 283, Gene Kessler planned out the route the riders would take each time they rode together through the rolling hills of Central Ohio. Gene was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and had been a member of the ALR Post 283 since it was organized in 2008.
In October 2017, Gene died from complications related to exposure to Agent Orange during his tour of duty as a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1966 through 1968.
To honor Gene’s memory and raise awareness about the effects of Agent Orange, ALR Post 283 will hold a commemorative ride, poker run, and dinner on August 11, 2018. Proceeds from the day’s events will be donated to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, at the request of Gene’s widow, Heather.
“We do a lot of charity rides to support veterans and active duty personnel,” explained ALR Post 283 treasurer Charlotte Chamberlain.
The August 11th ride will begin at the Post, where breakfast will be served. The 72-mile route includes three stops, at the American Legion Posts in Lancaster, Ohio, and Junction City, Ohio, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Baltimore, Ohio. Riders can go at their own pace but will be reminded when it’s time to leave each stop to ensure they finish by 5pm. When riders return to ALR Post 283, they will draw a poker hand, and prizes will be awarded for the best three hands. Riders and members will enjoy dinner together and live music. “We expect to have a lot of our members come out, even if they aren’t riding,” Chamberlain said. In addition to raising money for the Society in Gene’s honor, ALR Post 283 will distribute information about Agent Orange and how veterans can get help and receive compensation if they were affected by the chemical.
Thank you American Legion Riders Post #283 for your generous support of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society!
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso