STERLING – A 5-day, 500-mile bicycle ride across the state that honors fallen heroes and their families will be making stops in the Sauk Valley on Friday.
More than 30 riders, each bearing the name of a fallen Illinois National Guardsman on his or her back, are about halfway through the Gold Star Mission 500.
This will be the first time the ride passes through the Sauk Valley, and Friday is the longest day of the trip, when riders trek 126 miles from the Quad Cities to Machesney Park.
The ride began Tuesday at the Illinois Army National Guard’s Marseilles Training Center, and will end sometime on Saturday at the 1st Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.
Most of this year’s riders are active military, veterans or riders who know someone who’s being honored, ride director Eric Murray said.
The Gold Star Mission, which hosts the ride, was established in 2017 and honors fallen heroes and their Gold Star families.
A Gold Star Family is the immediate family members of a fallen serviceman or woman killed while serving in a time of conflict.
Money raised from the event is used to fund student scholarships in the name of fallen heroes to help preserve the hero’s legacy.
Follow the ride on Facebook; go to goldstarmission.org for more information about Gold Star Mission or to donate to the scholarship fund.