Bikers bring Christmas in July to vets at Charleston VA

(Scott Garrand/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Turnout for the charity event was nearly triple what was expected, and veterans said the response was heart-warming.

Motorcycle riders from the American Legion brought Christmas joy in July to veterans at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Sunday. It's the eighth year the American Legion has used the event as a way or providing veterans at the hospital with things that are not typically provided.

Fifty riders were expected for the event that kicked off at noon, but 115 bikers from the general public and 13 local chapters of the American Legion paraded their way into the parking lot.

"It makes you feel great, that somebody is actually behind us, remembering he veterans," said veteran participant Tom Lynes. "...Most of us are either veterans or sons or daughters of verterans. It's very important. I think the American people have lost sight."

The group began the ride at the Goose Creek Post 166. Gift items were collected for several months in advance of the event.

Gifts were personal care and recreation items designed to provide for their needs while hospitalized.

* The Associated Press contributed to this report.