Dual role: Members who are part of ALA and Legion Riders (Part 2)

Posted On: Friday, 15 March 2024

Thank you to everyone who responded to our callout for American Legion Auxiliary members who are also American Legion Riders! We received a truly phenomenal response from ALA members who ride and support the mission from the road. We featured a few members in the February 2024 Auxiliary magazineand now we’re spotlighting even more Legion Riders through this two-part blog series. 
They often travel in groups, wearing black leather vests adorned with the emblems of The American Legion Family. American flags are attached to the backs of their motorcycles, proudly waving in the breeze as members make their way to their next destination to honor our nation’s veterans or support local children.
They are the American Legion Riders.
Throughout the country, many of our own American Legion Auxiliary members are also Riders. Even our 2023-2024 National President Lisa Williamson is a Rider. 
Some of these members ride their own bikes, and others ride with a spouse or friend. 
Marcia Cottrell
Department of Kansas

As an ALA member, what motivated you to become a Legion Rider?

I felt it would be an extension of my love of the Auxiliary and our mission. It was another way to serve our veterans within The American Legion Family.  
What do you enjoy about being a Legion Rider? 
Being a Legion Rider allows me to ride my trike with friends I feel comfortable riding with and knowing they look out for me when we are riding. The camaraderie in the Legion Rider family is like no other. We may ride different types of bikes (two or three wheels), but the peace and serenity that comes with riding is beyond belief.   

Gabriele Barnett 
Department of Georgia

As an ALA member, what motivated you to become a Legion Rider?
Motorcycles always fascinated me, although when I was growing up, I was rather afraid of them. When my husband bought me my first bike, the American Legion Riders were the perfect group to join. They took me under their wing and helped me to become a safe rider. I enjoyed seeing the Family come together for common interests. It is very gratifying to ride with like-minded members for a worthy cause. The Riders participate in so many activities — raising funds for our veterans, military families, children in the community, etc. Every year, our Riders escort Santa Claus to the post for the children’s Christmas party. Seeing the kids’ eyes light up when they see Santa warms your heart.
What do you enjoy about being a Legion Rider?
I enjoy the camaraderie and sense of family. For example, some of us see each other only once a year on the national Legacy Ride, and when we do, it is just like a big family reunion. Riding with my “family,” I feel safe because we take care of each other. It also allows me to meet new people and see new places while promoting The American Legion Family programs. 

​Cindy Tosten

Department of Pennsylvania

As an ALA member, what motivated you to become a Legion Rider?
I’ve ridden motorcycles most of my life but didn’t own my own until about a year ago. I’m the Auxiliary president of our unit (46), and my husband was the post finance officer. We had some friends become Riders, so we decided to join also.  
What do you enjoy about being a Legion Rider?
Doing rides to help people in our community and supporting other chapters is a good feeling and we enjoy it!

Debbie Cornelius

Department of Kansas

As an ALA member, what motivated you to become a Legion Rider?
I became an ALA member so I could be a Legion Rider. My husband is a Sons member and a Legion Rider. I wanted to be a Legion Rider so I could fully participate in honoring our veterans with the flag lines and escorts.
What do you enjoy about being a Legion Rider?
I enjoy being able to honor our veterans. The families of the veterans appreciate the Riders being there to honor their loved ones at funerals with the flag lines and escorts. Our Legion Riders are also active in the community. We participate in parades with flags on our bikes, Veterans Day events, and other community events — the younger kids enjoy seeing the motorcycles with flags flying! We also have several fundraising events so we can provide scholarships to students at our local high schools.

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.