by Matthew Griffis
American Legion Riders (ALR) Post 109 first started in November 2004, with three couples: John & Sandra Tyszkiewicz, Steve & Patty Seiben and Kenneth & Nicole Cassidy, after receiving approval from Post 109 to start a riders group. Steve Seiben was the first ALR President. One of the first items on the agenda was a food drive, then the annual Turkey Run and Hog Run. The proceeds went to the Salvation Army.
In April of 2005, the newly formed ALR group from Post 109 joined forces with Post 36 to bring the traveling Vietnam wall to Tucson. Together they raised $10,000 to have the wall brought to the VA Hospital. By this time, the group had grown to 15 members. The monthly ALR Rib Dinner also started in 2005; at that time, dinner was BBQ chicken and pork ribs. This small group also adopted a family from Christmas Angels.
To this day, the ALR at Post 109 has an annual Turkey Run, providing Thanksgiving meals to local families, and participates in the Christmas Angels programs in area schools. In addition, riders have added numerous charitable and fund-raising events, as the need arises. An example of one of our upcoming events is a fundraiser ride to support Autistic children within the Vail community, being held this coming April 14th.
For the fiscal year 2013 – 2014, ALR 109 had 167 members, logged 103,500 miles and contributed $3,921 to veterans issues, charitable causes, community events and American Legion National. Many of the riders also ride with the Patriot Guard. Thad Baker, alone, averages 3,000 miles per month on PGR missions. Today, our ALR is over 300 riders strong and growing. ALR 109 has grown to be one of the largest ALR groups in Arizona but has never forgotten its history or the reason members are called American Legion Riders. More about our riders can be seen at www.ALR109.com
You can find a calendar of our events on our website www.post109.org and on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanLegion109/ We invite our community to participate in these events. We are a family-oriented organization that encourages family participation.