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LI veterans ride to the aid of their own

Motorcyclists start out for a ride which began

Motorcyclists start out for a ride which began at the Northport LIRR Station honoring Marine Corps veterans including Cpl. Chris Scherer on the 5th year anniversary of his death while serving in Iraq. Chris, a Northport native lost his life to a sniper's bullet in Al Anbar Provence at the age of 21 on July 21st of 2007. (July 21, 2012) Credit: Steven Sunshine

The sun beat down on riders' tattooed arms and black leather vests as the pack of motorcycles growled to life. This was no biker gang, but about 100 veterans and military supporters whose clothes and motorcycles were peppered with miniature stars and stripes.

They rode through Northport Saturday in the Fallen Warrior Motorcycle Ride. Organized by various Long Island veterans groups, the ride raised money for the Cpl. Christopher G. Scherer Semper Fi Fund.

Scherer, a Marine from East Northport, was killed by Iraqi sniper fire five years ago Saturday, his father, Tim Scherer, said. He was 21.

Scherer, president of the fund, said it was started to raise awareness for veterans' issues and to address their families' needs. Money collected from yesterday's ride -- drivers and passengers were asked to donate $20 and $10, respectively -- was going toward buying a service dog for a Gettysburg, Pa., amputee.

"Whenever we do an event, we do it in Chris' name, but it's for all of them [the veterans]," said Scherer, 54, of East Northport. "When you do something like this, you know you're changing someone's life."

The fund has raised about $150,000 total in its five years, sending care packages to soldiers overseas and providing assistance to veterans at home, Scherer said.

Motorcyclists -- including members of 9-1-1 Veterans and U.S. Veterans Motorcyle Club-Long Island -- rode from the Northport LIRR stop to the Northport VA Medical Center. "When your son signs on that dotted line, he gains new brothers," said 9-1-1 Veterans president Chris Delaney, of Lindenhurst, an Iraq vet who rode Saturday. "This is what America is built on."

Participants had lunch after the ride at Elijah Churchill's Public House in Fort Salonga, which features the Cpl. Scherer Burger. A dollar from each half-pounder sold goes toward scholarships for students at Northport High School, where Chris Scherer played lacrosse and graduated in 2004.

Veterans banding together in events such as Saturday's create necessary support groups, said Mike Posner, who was wounded twice in separate explosions while fighting in Iraq.

"I almost got killed overseas," said Posner, 41, of Bellport. "That's why I feel like I need to be here -- vets helping vets."

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