By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (April 19, 2021) – The parking lot of American Legion Post 697 was humming with the sound of motorcycles Saturday morning as roughly 30 riders gathered to have their bikes blessed before the first ride of the year.
The Legion Riders hosted their inaugural “Blessing of the Bikes” ceremony last year, and returned to the tradition this year. The blessing was performed by Tony Blejski, who sprinkled holy water on the bikes and riders present, and said, “God bless you and this bike. And may you be safe each and every day.”
Blejski took over chaplain duties from Seamus McLaughlin, who has been experiencing health issues. The Riders’ first stop on their Saturday morning ride was at McLaughlin’s house in Lansing.
Roughly half of the riders on Saturday were from the Lansing post, said Legion Rider President Nick Grigutis.
“We used to go to [a Blessing of the Bikes event] in Schererville, but they didn’t do it last year … so we picked it up,” Grigutis said.
The Riders also were selling 50/50 raffle tickets to benefit the American Legion. The ride itself was free for participants.
The American Legion Riders are planning three more large rides this year: a “Legacy Ride” on June 6, an eighth annual fundraiser ride on July 31, and a “POW/MIA Recognition Ride” on September 18.
American Legion Post 697 is located at 18255 Grant Street, Lansing IL.