February 16, 2017 07:49 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Take an American flag … add a fleet of motorcycles and mix in pride and appreciation for our veterans and you’ve got "Nation of Patriots".
And for Mark Harig, it's become a passion.
"Their sole purpose is to raise funds to financially support combat wounded soldiers and their families," Harig explained. “Usually they start out on Memorial Day in the spring, and they take a flag that's been in combat, and they escort that flag for 100 days through all 48 states."
"And he volunteers for that,” said Albert Lea veteran Al Kaderabek. “I mean, so many hours he volunteers, it's just like a full time job pretty near."
And Al Kaderabek thought that kind of dedication should be recognized. So he nominated Mark Harig for the latest ABC 6/Home Federal “Pay It Forward” award.
It comes with $600, which the recipient “pays forward” to the project they support.
The Albert Lea “Nation Of Patriots” group is only a couple of years old, but… in its size category … it's already one of the top fundraising groups in the country.
"We had four soldiers this year that each received a little over $2600,” volunteer Mark Harig explained.
The first Nation of Patriot's ride was dedicated to Greg Gassen's son Jacob, a medic who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
"And one of the Afghan border patrol officers stood up behind them and shot six of the guys in the back of the head from five feet away," Greg Gassen told ABC 6 when the 2016 ride came through Albert Lea.
"He said Jacob was shot one time in the back of the head,” Mark Harig continued the story when he accepted the “Pay It Forward” money this week. “He didn't know what hit him."
“Freedom. It's not really free, they're the ones that fight for us, and that's the reason we've got the freedoms,” veteran Al Kaderabek added.
“I can't say enough about the Nation of Patriots,” said award recipient Mark Harig. “But we have veterans like Al and others who support us so strongly that certainly makes it an honor for us to be part of the Nation of Patriots”.
Updated: February 16, 2017 07:49 PM
Created: February 16, 2017 07:40 PM
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