Soldiers helping soldiers

TUPELO – Helping a soldier is a few keystrokes away on your computer.
You can visit www.dixiethunderrun.net and purchase T-shirts and other items, and know the proceeds will benefit Mississippi soldiers and their families.
But you don’t have to stop there.
The Dixie Thunder Run is approaching, and it’s open to everybody, said SFC Tony Shackleford.
“This is not just for Harley riders. It’s for all types of motorcycles,” he said. “You don’t have to ride a motorcycle. It’s for cars and trucks, too. Harley just happens to be one of our sponsors.”
Registration is available at www.dixiethunderrun.net, or you can register beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the BancorpSouth Arena parking lot.
“We will leave at 0900, 9 o’clock, Saturday,” Shackleford said. “We’ll have a Mississippi Highway Patrol escort all the way.”
From Tupelo, riders and drivers will travel South on Highway 45, taking rest stops in West Point and Scooba. The ride will conclude at Chunky River Harley-Davidson in Meridian.
“The neat thing this year is we’ll be bringing in people from three different parts of the state,” said Shackleford, adding that groups from Biloxi and Jackson will rendezvous with the Tupelo group in Meridian.

Chance to win
Lunch will be provided for the riders, and bands will perform. There will be an auction, and Harley-Davidson demo motorcycles will be on site.
At 3 p.m., there will be a raffle drawing for a guitar signed by the band Three Doors Down. Tickets are $1 each.
Then at 4 p.m., they’ll draw for the winner of a Harley-Davidson 2010 Softail Fat Boy motorcycle. Those tickets are $10 each.
You don’t have to be present to win the guitar or the motorcycle, and you can purchase raffle tickets or other merchandise on the website.
All proceeds go to Operation First Response and the Mississippi Emergency Relief Fund.
“A lot of stuff can happen at home when soldiers are out of the country,” Shackleford said. “They really have nowhere to go, except funds like these.”
The motto for the Dixie Thunder Run is “Soldiers Helping Soldiers.” Members of the National Guard’s 155th Brigade Combat Team and 185th Aviation will take part in the ride.
But, at heart, the event is a chance for anyone to help Mississippi’s military families.
“We don’t charge anything to ride. Come out and support our soldiers and their families,” Shackleford said. “We just ask that you go to the website and buy a T-shirt or a raffle ticket. That’s supporting the troops.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris / NEMS Daily Journal