By Shereen Siewert

The Man of Honor Society will hold their annual fundraiser in June as scheduled to continue their mission of supporting Veterans – at a time when they expect need will be at an all-time high, the organization confirmed Thursday.

“With unemployment numbers so high, we’re anticipating that more Veterans will need our help than ever before,” said Dan Rigney, vice president of the organization. “We need to continue so we’re able to give Veterans the help they deserve when they need it.”

This year will be the 16th year for the event, which is the group’s sole fundraising effort each year. Money raised goes to support Veterans and their families in Marathon County, usually for emergency situations such as money to prevent power shutoffs or evictions, as well as offering advocacy services when necessary, Rigney said.

Event organizers say they are acutely aware of concerns regarding COVID-19 and will take adequate precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. Organizers considered canceling, but after careful consultation with members, vendors, and health officials, opted to move forward and continue their mission: helping the veterans who need them most.

“We’re committed to keeping everyone as safe as possible,” said Man of Honor President Jeff Morgan.

The event will run from June 12 through June 14 outdoors behind the Wausau Eagles’ Club, 1703 S. Third Ave., Wausau. Boat docking is available.

Organizers have made some modifications to the event to ensure safety including spacing out seating areas, eliminating children’s games, reducing congestion and ensuring that proper sanitary practices are used by vendors and servers.

The group has been in close contact with the Marathon County Health Department to stay up to date on best practices and will continue to refine plans in the time leading up to the event. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs for seating.

Typically, the event draws thousands of people and raises about $95,000 each year, all of which stays in the area to help veterans in need. Funds are raised in part through raffle sales with prizes ranging from cash to a riding lawn mower, 4-wheeler with trailer, 2020 Harley Electra Glide and 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4×4.

A limited number of tickets are being sold for $50 each. As of this week, tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling MOH President Jeff Morgan at 715-203-3211. Purchasers need not be present to win.

Jeff Morgan, December 2019. Photo by Kelli Oligney/Wausau Pilot and Review

The Friday night musical act has not yet been determined, but will be announced shortly.

Saturday’s events include one of the largest motorcycle gatherings in the state. Five years ago the ride had only about 15 bikes. But by last year, that number grew to more than 170.

This year, the 2020 Honor Ride will begin at Richard’s Restaurant and Bar, 5305 N. 32nd Ave., Wausau, with registration from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Preregistration is not necessary.

Also on Saturday, Knock Point will play from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., while an honor ceremony is planned. Fireworks, weather permitting, are planned for dusk.

The event continues on Sunday, June 14 with live music from Polish Connection from noon to 5 p.m., a chicken dinner for $5 from 11 a.m. until sold out, and the raffle ticket drawing at 6 p.m.

Event hours are: Noon to 11 p.m. Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 14.

Admission is free.

For up-to-date information on the event, visit the organization’s Facebook page. Contact information for officers can be found on the Man of Honor website.