“Readshaw's Raiders” prepping for annual A.B.A.T.E. Ride to Gettysburg
Will the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education top last year's record-breaking "Ride to Gettysburg" in the 2011 version of the journey from Harrisburg to Gettysburg, set for September 24? State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, is hoping for a repeat performance.
Rep. Readshaw founded the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project in 1997. Its supporters have become known as "Readshaw's Raiders," and A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania has been at the front of the pack.
Registration for the ride will begin at 11 a.m. on Sept. 24 behind the Capitol in Harrisburg. The procession will set out at 1 p.m. For a fee of $10, each rider will receive a commemorative 2011 "Readshaw's Raiders" pin and a chicken barbecue at the conclusion of the ride donated by Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Gettysburg.
The Monuments Project was started to fund desperately-needed cleaning and repairs for the more than 140 monuments and markers on the battlefield that honor the heroism and sacrifice of the thousands of Pennsylvanians who fought in the epic clash that turned the tide in the Civil War in the Union's favor.
Most of the Pennsylvania monuments and markers were erected by the veterans of the battle with the assistance of allocations approved by the state General Assembly.
After several years, the funding for immediate cleaning and repairs was secured and Readshaw turned his attention to financing their future maintenance needs by endowing each with a perpetual trust. Thus far, about half of the $431,000 to fund the trusts has been raised.
Last year's A.B.A.T.E. ride attracted approximately 400 participants and brought in better than $13,500 in donations, the most in the ride's history.
Proceeds from the ride go the Monuments Project and the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association. The GBPA, the nation's oldest Civil War battlefield preservation organization, is presently concentrating on the restoration and preservation of the historic 145-acre Daniel Lady Farm on Hanover Road in Gettysburg, The house and barn were used by the Confederates as field hospitals during the battle.
"Every participant in the Ride for the Monuments becomes part of the legacy of Gettysburg," said Rep. Readshaw. "Through their actions, they can point to a Pennsylvania monument and tell their children they helped to keep it standing in a condition that does honor to the soldiers of Gettysburg and ensures that future generations will see these priceless ‘icons of freedom.'"
More information about the Ride for the Monuments can be obtained by calling 717-731-8955 or visiting www.abatepa.com.