SEARSPORT — Over 50 motorcyclists gathered at the Searsport Dunkin’ July 17 to participate in the eighth annual Ryan’s Ride to raise money for a local veteran struggling mentally or financially.

Cloudy but dry conditions created a good day to ride north on Route 1 to Brewer, then circle back around south to Stockton Springs where the route ends at event organizer Raye Rolston’s house. Texas Roadhouse catered a lunch at the end of the ride.

Motorcycle clubs like Fringe Element and Patriot Riders participated in the event, along with motorcycle riders who were not affiliated with a club.

Rolston plans the event every year with her nephew, Cleon Buzzell, to honor Rolston’s son-in-law, Ryan Love, who killed himself in 2012. She said he was like a son to her. “When he died he just took a piece of my heart,” she said. “… I couldn’t have loved him more if he was my own son.”

Love was a master sergeant in the Marines who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, she said. He completed seven tours abroad during his military career. He received numerous military awards and was the type of person everybody liked.

Buzzell approached Rolston with the idea of an event in Love’s honor, and they developed the event, which kicked off in 2013. Because of the coronavirus, last year was the only year since it started that the two did not hold the event.

The funds will go to a veteran in need, to be chosen after the event. Some years the proceeds have been donated to the Garry Owen House, Rolston said. She holds the funds in a special bank account for the event until she comes across a veteran in need.

Posters of Ryan Love are displayed at the July 17 event in his honor that raises money for a veteran in need.  Photo by Kendra Caruso

A biker gets ready to ride July 17 during the eighth annual Ryan’s Ride, which kicked off at the Searsport Dunkin.’ Photo by Kendra Caruso

 

Bikers mount their bikes July 17 at the Searsport Dunkin’ for the annual Ryan’s Ride to raise money for a local veteran in need. Photo by Kendra Caruso