19th annual Thunder Run to roar across northern Illinois Sept. 19 for POWs, MIAs

Hundreds of motorcyclists will begin to assemble at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center for the 19th annual Thunder Run.

Coordinated by Rolling Thunder Illinois Chapter 2, the event raises POW/MIA awareness, generates funding for veteran services projects, and reminds government officials that much work remains to recover the tens of thousands still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action, said U.S. Army Retired Col. Wayne Kirkpatrick.

"Citizens demand full accountability for our 83,000 prisoners of war and missing in action," said Kirkpatrick, noting that this month the ride takes on additional weight.

"The men and women of Rolling Thunder embrace our moral obligation as Americans to support our nation's Armed Forces - current, past and future - for their sacrifices," he said. "Our mission is acutely important this month given the recent withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, the recognition of September as Suicide Prevention Month, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and the designation of 17 September as National POW/MIA Day.

"We encourage all of our American brothers and sisters to unify and stand with us in accepting this obligation by honoring our American flag as it passes by."

Flag-bearing and other motorcyclists will depart on their police-escorted ride at 11 a.m. from the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, 3001 Green Bay Road, North Chicago.

They'll follow a 40-mile route through North Chicago, Green Oaks, Libertyville, Volo, Lakemoor, McHenry and Bull Valley en route to Woodstock Harley-Davidson, 2235 S. Eastwood Drive, where participants will enjoy a lunch and raffles. The last bike in will be at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Cost to join in the rain-or-shine ride is $20 per motorcyclist and $10 per passenger. This is Rolling Thunder's primary fundraising event of the year. Proceeds are earmarked for POW/MIA education efforts, MIA repatriation events, remembrance table ceremonies, the granting of final requests from terminal patients at Lovell, grants to Veterans Path to Hope (formerly TLS Veterans) and more.

"It's a somber, patriotic event that does tremendous good with the monies raised," said Richard Lanute, president of Rolling Thunder Illinois Chapter 2, one of about 90 chapters of the nonprofit that exist across the country. "Motorcyclists need not be members to participate, and we encourage all to consider joining us on the 19th."

More information is available at

Those with questions may send an email to

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