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Patriot Tour Rolls Through LeRoy

Created: 08/27/2013 7:26 PM KSTP.com
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- They rolled into town to a fanfare of red, white and blue.

And when the rumble faded half an hour later, it left us with a reminder of what it means to be an American.

"This is part of the nation of patriots organization," said Patriot Tour organizer Bryce Haugland explained.

“We have a flag here that's been in Iraq and Afghanistan."

It could have been any town in America. On Tuesday morning, Main Street USA cut through the heart of LeRoy.

An entourage of dozens of motorcycles rolled into town past a sea of red, white and blue.

"When I saw those kids wave those flags on the side of the road it brought me to tears," said rider Greg Gassen.

“Between Memorial Day and Labor Day it travels the continental 48 united states by motorcycle, with approximately 90,000 bikers passing this around the country," organizer Bryce Haugland told us.

It's a fund raiser to help combat-wounded veterans and their families.

"Every rider here is donating money to participate in this, plus we're taking donations from anybody," Bryce Haugland said.

“He was PFC Jacob Gassen,” Greg Gassen told us.

Last year's ride was dedicated to his son.

"He went to Afghanistan and was killed over there November 29, 2010."

Jacob Gassen was a combat medic.

"It raises money for soldiers that are coming back that are hurt,” Greg Gassen said of the Patriot Tour. “And this is part of Jacob's mission that we're continuing."

“Nationwide, they're talking 40, 50-thousand," Bryce Haugland added. “Last year the albert lea chapter was third in the nation for raising money, and our money stays local."

But the ride isn't just raising funds -- it's raising awareness.

"We always remember our veterans on Memorial Day and the fourth of July and Veterans Day, but we should remember these veterans 365 days a year. They give us our freedom," Bryce Haugland said.

"Jacob really didn't die in Afghanistan and he didn't lose his life. He gave his life so that we can enjoy the freedom that we take for granted here today," Patriot Tour rider Greg Gassen added.