By Kevin M. Smith

Fort Hood Herald

A barbecue and bike show ended a day-long ride around Central Texas promoting car and motorcycle safety during a fundraiser for veterans.

“We’re going to try to do this every year,” said Danny “Gray Ghost” Graham, American Legion Post 573 member and motorcycle rider.

Graham rode with more than 50 other bikers to American Legion Post 223 in Killeen, American Legion Post 582 in Copperas Cove, The Flying Goose Steakhouse in Lampasas, Fort Hood Harley-Davidson in Harker Heights, Burney’s restaurant and club in Harker Heights, the Animal House bar in Harker Heights and Kay’s Motorcycle Mania in Nolanville before returning to American Legion Post 573 in Harker Heights.

At each stop, they talked to people about car and motorcycle safety.

“We let people know, ‘Hey, there are motorcycles and there are cars ... we can get along out there,’” said Graham, of Harker Heights.

Albert Estrella, member of the American Legion, rode his motorcycle in the fundraiser.

“It was a good response,” Estrella said.

Kevin Hartbarger, commander of American Legion Post 573, said his club was asked by the Mustang Mafia Car Club about partnering to do the fundraiser.

“We’re always looking for fundraisers or things to do,” Hartbarger said.

He said it is for a good cause.

“It’s for veterans down on their luck,” Hartbarger said.

Willie Browning, service officer who assists with veterans’ claims, is available from 8 a.m. to noon each Wednesday at Post 573, 225 Cox Drive, for veterans.

The money was raised by each rider paying $10 to go on the motorcycle run to promote car and bike safety. Participants also were sold T-shirts for $15 each. All proceeds go to benefit the Texas Military Family Foundation Fund and the Veterans Relief Fund.

“We try to do something every month,” Graham said about fundraising for those types of organizations.

Residents who are not members of the American Legion also joined the ride.

“I just came out, rode out and showed my support,” said Paul Banty, of Harker Heights. “I just had a good time. It’s a beautiful day.”

Hartbarger said there were about 20 sponsors who helped with the event.

Post 463, which has 463 members, is always looking for more members, Hartbarger said.

“The American Legion always has events going on,” Hartbarger said. “It’s a safe place for soldiers and veterans alike to have fellowship.”

He also said the post is looking for veterans to submit pictures from their time in the service to add to the Veterans Wall at the post’s entrance.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at or call (254) 501-7550

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