Bikers and friends gathered at Steamboat Sunoco July 21 for Ryan's Ride, an annual event that honors the memory of a former United States Marine. This year the ride raised $3,451 for local veterans' causes.

M/Sgt. Ryan C. Love, an active-duty Marine who died in July 2012, was originally from Frankfort and attended Searsport District High School. He joined the service in 1997 and was stationed in Kosovo and the Mediterranean, and served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Love was living in California with his wife and daughter when he took his own life, according to a previous Republican Journal article. The action was blamed on post traumatic stress disorder, an increasingly common diagnosis for soldiers.

"It started as a memory ride to remember Ryan," said Raye Rolston of Stockton Springs, Love's mother-in-law.

The ride has taken place for the last six years and "each year it's gotten bigger and bigger," she said. Last year 117 people took part in the event.

This year, 89 bikes took the ride, most of them carrying a passenger, according to Rolston. "Our goal is 200 and we came pretty close," Rolston said. "This is the most bikes we've ever had."

The event originated with Rolston's nephew, Cleon Buzzell, thinking of ways to honor Love. "I was living in Florida when I heard of Ryan's passing. Sitting on a beach, feeling sorry for myself, I thought we ought to do something," Buzzell said.

"A scholarship? Ryan was not much about education. He was a motorcycle rider," he said. "I called Raye and said, I think we ought to have a memory ride."

“He was just the greatest husband, father, son-in-law, brother and son,” Rolston said.

"We have raised money for the Garry Owen House, a transitional home for veterans," she said, "as well as, a few years back, built a wheelchair ramp for a veteran who was injured in a Humvee crash. We try and keep it local."

Buzzell said, "Raye is the backbone, she's the boots on the ground for this thing. She does most of the work, and together we help raise money for veterans in need — and, at that same time, honor Ryan and anyone who's ever put on the uniform."

The ride began with a prayer from Buzzell, "May those who gave the ultimate sacrifice rest forever," he said. "You have made the world a safer place for all of us."