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Honoring the fallen

USA Cares brings four-day event for Flag Week to Jessamine County

USA Cares kicks off a series of events today throughout Jessamine County as part of National Flag Week.

“We try to do this yearly,” said Kim Deyer, council woman with USA Cares. “We have this community event so people do not think it is all about motorcycles and all about bikers.

“It is about helping our military families. Getting people engaged with the needs of our veterans and our families.”

USA Cares is an organization which serves post-9/11 military families across the country. Money raised through local events goes back into the organization, where 80 percent of the earnings are given directly to military families to help assist them in four core areas: housing, emergency assistance, jobs and combat assistance.

“The City of Wilmore is honored and pleased to be the host during National Flag Week of several outstanding events,” Wilmore Mayor Harold Rainwater said.

Beginning with a flag and flower challenge at Camp Nelson National Cemetary from 8:30 a.m. to noon today, young patriot Preston Sharp, who has traveled from California, will place flowers and flags on veterans’ graves. After going to his grandfather’s funeral and wondering why there were no flags and flowers on other veterans’ graves, Sharp decided he was going to make it his challenge to show other veterans around the country the respect they deserved.

“Preston was received at the State of the Union,” Deyer said. “He has made it his mission to cover the U.S. and honor the fallen with flags and flowers. He honors each one by saying their name and thanking them for their service and then putting a flag and flower on their grave. To have someone this young doing this sort of thing sets the pace for that generation.”

A traveling Kentucky Vietnam memorial is set to arrive via a motorcycle escort and will be open to the public from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Servant Heart Farm, located at 9517 Harrodsburg Road in Wilmore. A candlelight vigil will begin at 7 p.m. Friday.

“This is important for Vietnam veterans to have the opportunity to view it and heal,” Deyer said. “It is new and focuses on the state and all the ones that we lost in Kentucky. It is quite a bit of healing time for them.”

A flags ride is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday. Those who participate will end their journey at Old Glory and Thunder Fest at the Servant Heart Farm in Wilmore. The ride will begin at the V.A. Hospital in Lexington, and will make a stop at the Thompson Hood Veteran Center in Wilmore before finally ending at the festival, which will feature a concert, flag-raising and honoring of American veterans.

“We are hoping to have 200 to 300 bikers,” Deyer said. “When you put a ride together and it is all a mission every stop is paying tribute to a veteran in some capacity. We are super excited because every stop is about honoring our veterans and raising money for military families.”

The festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Servant Heart Farm. Admission is $10. Registration for the flags ride is $25 per rider or $35 for rider and passenger, which also includes entry into the festival.

“There will be Revolutionary and Civil war reenacts, food vendors and motorcycles,” Deyer said. “It is a fun festival for a very patriotic National Flag Week. We are paying honor to our veterans and the ones which have fallen. We have been blessed with people reaching out asking how they can be a part of this.”

For more information, visit www.usacares.org.