Dozens of motorcycle riders will be cruising across Nebraska this week as part of the Pony Express Ride, an annual effort to raise awareness about children’s mental health.
Cynthia Harris, in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, says the ride will start tomorrow in the western Nebraska town of Gering.
“Volunteer motorcycle riders will travel all across the state and they will span total mileage of about 900 miles,” Harris says, “picking up letters about children’s mental health written by youth and their families and other supporters which will be delivered to lawmakers at the state capitol on June 4th.”
Like the original Pony Express riders of many decades past, these motorcyclists will be carrying a cargo of words on paper.
“The letters carry messages of hope and inspiration and call attention to children’s mental health awareness,” Harris says. “Youth and families are sharing their personal stories and looking at how Nebraska can move our system of care forward, calling attention to these matters and looking for support.”
The motorcyclists are primarily members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and are called Eagle Riders. They typically range in number from 50 to 75 on the ride. The goal is statewide awareness and advocacy.
Harris says, “It’s really important that as a community we are dedicated and committed to moving our system forward and to connecting and supporting our young people, our youth, our families, so they don’t fall through the cracks and they are able to get the help they need, when they need it.”
The ride begins in Gering and will make stops in: North Platte, Lexington and Kearney on Thursday; Grand Island, Columbus, Norfolk and Fremont on Friday, and on Saturday, they’ll travel to Omaha and then to Lincoln. The ride wraps up with a ceremony on the North Capitol steps of the Nebraska State Capitol at 1 p.m. on Saturday.