Five rides from all over the state and over 100 riders each year converge on The Highground Veterans Memorial Park for the Hero’s Ride Bike Tour. Riders join together to bolster the organization’s efforts to provide veterans and their families with support and resources to help them heal from the wounds of war.
This year’s 38th Annual Hero’s Ride Bike Tour was in memory of Jim Griepentrog and John Southworth. Griepentrog served in the United States Air Force from 1969 -1972 and was a Vietnam veteran. Griepentrog retired after 41 years at the former Memorial Medical Center, now Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville.
For more than 30 years, Griepentrog rode his bicycle every August as part of the Northern route, raising money and awareness for the Hero’s Ride Bike Tour cause. The Northern route is a three-day bike ride covering over 160 miles.
Emergency Medicine Registered Nurse Alyssa Bembnister is the daughter of Griepentrog. She finished the ride with her family this year, despite having a few flat tires.
“We have been doing the Highground Bike Ride ever since I was born and this year we are doing it again, but in memory of him,” she said.
In memory of Griepentrog, Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville as an organization and Sally Zillman, chief administrative officer, personally donated to the Hero’s Ride Bike Tour. The Northern route riders raised $29,054 of the total $92,000 raised by the Hero’s Ride Bike Tour. The funds go to the operating costs of the Highground Veterans Memorial. Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan donate to The Highground’s fall veteran’s retreats as well.