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"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out (that) going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
– John Muir  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 7 July 2018  

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  The American Legion Riders Pony Express
  Bringing scholarship funds
  By Mark Stoller

   The once frenzied cadence of horses being ridden to their maximum capacity has been replaced by the roar of motorcycle engines as the American Legion Riders revived the Pony Express throughout Colorado.
   On June 10, American Legion Riders covered four routes originating in the north from Greeley, east from Manzanola, central from Denver and southwest from Montrose and Durango.
   Handing off from one rider to another at designated locations, the handmade leather pouches, full of donations for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund, were delivered to Falcon and the Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 American Legion Riders.
   Frank “Poncho” Serrano, American Legion Riders statewide committee chairman, was on hand at the Purple Toad to receive the riders as they delivered their pouches. “The fire in Durango didn’t stop our riders from making the run,” Serrano said. “The donations are from our Colorado American Legion Family, which includes the American Legion posts, American Legion Riders, Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion.”
   The American Legion website states the Legacy Scholarship is a needs-based scholarship designed to fulfill a financial gap remaining after all federal and state educational grants/scholarships available to an eligible applicant have been utilized. Eligible recipients are children of U.S. military members who died while on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and children of post-9/11 veterans who have assigned a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each needs-based scholarship provides up to $20,000 in aid for undergraduate or post-graduate college.
   “This is the second year we have made the Pony Express run,” Serrano said. “The scholarship is a great cause, and it brings cohesion to the Colorado American Legion posts with rider programs. Last year, we brought in just over $8,000; and, this year, we surpassed that by collecting $9,001. We operated on the state level for this project and delivered the proceeds to the state convention on June 23 at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. From there, the funds will be funneled to national.”
   The American Legion Rider coordinators for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Pony Express style fundraiser were CJ Baker from American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 and Barry Bateman from Security American Legion Post 38.
Freddie Strickland arrives at the Purple Toad to present the Pony Express pouch of donations.
Members of the American Legion Post 38 and 2008 gather to celebrate the return of all four Pony Express donation pouches, which go to the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund. Photos by Mark Stoller
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