Updated: 07/20/2013 10:42 PM
Created: 07/20/2013 10:40 PM KSTP.com
(ABC 6 News)-- Hundreds of local bikers took to the roads to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Motorcycles dressed with American flags and "tribute to the troops" detailing. A sight of patriotism as they lined up to hit the road for those who lost their lives.
"We lost our son three and a half years ago in Afghanistan and that's kind of how it all started," said Dave Swenson of Rochester.
It's been a long journey since then for Dave Swenson and his wife Kay, losing their son Curtis at just 20 years old.
"His unit had a big memorial for him in June and about two weeks later we got back and I bought this bike and we've been riding ever since," said Swenson.
The second annual Hero’s Ride is just one way Dave and other bikers raise awareness and help those families who never see their soldier come back home.
"To know that someone got the news that their loved one, their son or daughter paid the ultimate sacrifice, their life for me. How you say thank you to that?" said Scott Eggert, Organizer of the Hero’s Ride.
Seeing the names of all the fallen Minnesota soldiers means a lot of these bikers.
"When you see those names on that banner and you see that is someone, it really gives you a sobering moment," said Eggert.
For Dave Swenson and many others, those miles on the road are more about keeping soldiers like Curtis close to their heart.
"He's my copilot. We're never really far away when I ride my bike, so it's peaceful," said Swenson.
Last year the ride raised 5,000 dollars. All of the proceeds go directly to helping veterans in the southeast Minnesota area.