Veteran and Gold Star 500 cyclist Dave Helfrich and Gold Star Mother Nita Cross were among the supporters and riders who stopped by the Roscoe VFW, Sept. 29, for a hot meal. Cross lost her son in Iraq in 2005 and has been volunteering with the organization since that time. Helfrich is the President of Gold Star 500, and organization made up of veterans who ride across the state raising scholarship funds for children of veterans who have given their lives serving their country.

By Jean Seegers
Last month, 32 bicycle riders were on a mission to ride from Springfield Illinois and across the state, eventually covering over 500 miles. The riders are members of the Gold Star 500, part of Gold Star Mission. The not for profit organization is dedicated to ensuring that higher education is possible for surviving family members of Illinois service members who have lost a loved one in service to their country overseas.
The riders stopped by Roscoe VFW Post 2955, on Friday evening, Sept. 29, for a hot meal and an opportunity to dry out. The group had been riding through the rain for several hours.
David Helfrich, President of Gold Star 500 said the organization gave away $100,000 in scholarships in three years, beginning in 2017. “We put out scholarship information and applications on line each year for qualifying students”
Gold Star Mothers, an organization of women who have lost a child in the military fighting overseas, often volunteer their time to the organization. Nita Cross, from Galesburg, Iowa, lost her son SFL Kyle B. Wehrly Nov. 3, 2005. She has been following the Gold Star 500 riders for three years. “It helps me when I can talk to others. We don’t want our soldiers to be forgotten.”
The riders stop every 15 to 20 miles to take care of maintenance on their bikes and are provided food and drinks.
VFW members were more than happy to serve the riders a hot meal, provide the opportunity to get into dry clothes and be a part of the scholarship program effort.

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