Bikers roll up on Governor’s Mansion for good cause | NevadaAppeal.com

Bikers roll up on Governor’s Mansion for good cause

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer

On a blustery Carson City Monday, Gov. Jim Gibbons stood smiling on his front steps clad in a cream-colored sweater and khakis amongst men and women dressed in head-to-toe leathers who call themselves the Iron Nation Motorcycle Club.

While the juxtaposition caused curious onlookers to comment they’d rarely seen Harleys parked in front of the historic home of Nevada’s governor and first lady, the reason for the gathering was a fitting one for Veterans Day.

The bikers were giving a check for $15,000 to the Nevada Patriot Fund – an organization that gives families of Nevada soldiers who’ve died in Iraq or Afghanistan money to help get on their feet in the wake of their loss.

“We started the (fund) right about the time we went in Iraq,” said Perry DiLoreto, one of the fund’s initial five founders.

He said his vision for the group didn’t include raising money five years after its inception.

“At the time, we didn’t think (the war) would go this long – or that we’d have the number of soldiers lost that we do,” he said. “But our concern is to keep meeting these families needs foremost. And this (check) is a great help.”

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Nevada has lost 43 soldiers since the war on terror began, DiLoreto said. In that time, his organization has raised more than $600,000, distributing more than half to families of those from Nevada who’ve served – and fallen.

The fund gives $12,000 to families of soldiers with dependents and $6,000 to families of soldiers without dependents.

“We’ve found that it’s a sad but gratifying thing to do,” DiLoreto said. “Sometimes these families don’t have much to go on when they lose someone. The government and the military are stretched thin; they can only do so much.”

Gibbons lauded both the work from the bikers and those who established the Nevada Patriot Fund.

“I’m very proud of you, all of you,” he said. “Ride safely and keep moving.”

The man who refers to himself as Bob Dawg, the bike club’s president, said that it took a lot of “knocking on doors and pressing the flesh” to get the money raised.

“As soon as we leave here today, we start (raising money) again,” he said. “But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t believe in it.”

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at apridgen@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.