FOUNTAIN, Colo. — Motorcyclists joined the 15th anniversary Defenders of Freedom: Veterans Recognition Ride to honor U.S. military service members.

City of Fountain Police and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office escorted the motorcycle procession from Sarges’ Grill, 6436 S US Hwy 85-87. The path traveled through Fontaine, Marksheffel, Highway 94, Curtis Road, Fountain Mesa and other major routes through the City of Fountain and El Paso County. It ended at the I-25 Overpass near Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Since 2008, the 45 mile long Veterans Recognition Ride has been the longest law enforcement escorted motorcycle charity procession in the state of Colorado. It has raised awareness and generated donations for organizations that help America’s fallen, severely wounded and at risk warriors. Donations raised since 2008 totaled over $91,000, according to the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition.

“Being a veteran it’s kinda like being in a brotherhood,” said Brian Wess, the founder of the Defenders of Freedom: Veterans Recognition Ride. “We try to watch out for each other, and I just couldn’t stand by and do nothing so I try to do what I can to help.”

The proceeds raised by this event benefit EPCHVC, a nonprofit charity founded in 1998 with a mission to improve the lives of Homeless Veterans. The Coalition’s Annual “Stand Down” and Transitional Housing Initiative (THI) assist homeless Veterans & their families get access to services. The THI Program was specifically designed to transition Homeless Veteran Family units from homelessness to suitable permanent work & housing situations.

Since its inception in Early 2018, the EPCHVC’s Homeless Veteran Prevention Program (HPP) has assisted over 150 Front Range Veterans with emergency financial & medical costs. These efforts curbed the likelihood of veterans experiencing homelessness, according to EPCHVC.