Bikers use 90-mile ride, raffle to benefit Jason Johnston scholarship fund

Photo by Victoria Flugel: This photo was taken Saturday during the fourth annual Jason Johnston Dice Run. There were about 50 motorcycle riders in the event. Victoria Flugel took this photo while sitting on a motorcycle with her husband, Eric Flugel. They were first-time participants in the ride.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 August 2018 at 10:09 am

Event honors memory of Albion soldier killed in Afghanistan

Jason Johnston

ALBION – The fourth annual Jason Johnston Dice Run on Saturday raised more money for a scholarship given annually by the Albion Elks Riders.

There were 47 riders on dice run, which went 90 miles through Orleans County and outside Orleans to Bergen, Pavilion, Attica and Batavia. Each biker paid $20 to be in the event, with passengers paying $10. (There were 31 passengers on the ride.)

Following the ride, there was food, beer and a raffle at the Albion Elks Lodge, aswell as music by DJ Ken Draper and then a concert by The Who Dats.

Proceeds go towards a scholarship in memory of Specialist Jason Johnston, who was 24 when he was killed in Afghanistan in the War on Terror on Dec. 26, 2009. Johnston was on his second deployment. He was also a paratrooper.

He completed a 13-month-deployment in 2008 and left again for the war-torn country in October 2009. He was killed by a roadside bomb the day after Christmas.

“We have a great community that doesn’t mind helping someone who gave his all for them,” said Brad Johnston, Jason’s father. “That’s what Jason was all about, helping people.”

Photos by Tom Rivers: A group of motorcyclists check out some of the merchandise up fr auction during the benefit on Saturday.

The Elks the past four years have given $1,000 scholarships to a graduating senior pursuing a helping profession. Riley Seielstad was awarded the scholarship this past June.

Brad Johnston said the family appreciates the efforts from the Elks to establish the scholarship. The organization has enough funds to keep it going for at least 12 more years.

Johnston joined the Elks Riders two years ago. The American Legion also gives a scholarship in memory of Jason Johnston for a graduate headed to the military. The Legion is planning a fundraiser to keep that scholarship going.

“I don’t want him forgotten, and the scholarships also help students and soldiers,” Johnston said on Saturday at the Elks Lodge.

Joe Joyce, left, of East Pembroke is a member of the Patriot Guard. Mike Reigle is president of the Albion Elks Riders. Joyce is a paratrooper who wanted to be part of the ride to honor Johnston, who was also a paratrooper. There were four Patriot Guard riders on the ride, members of the Orleans ABATE, local Elks Riders and a group of bikers from the Albany area. Reigle said the Elks Riders plan to keep up the ride for years to come.

The Who Dats including lead singer Lonnie Froman, performed for the crowd at the Elks.

Ed Hilfiker is the guitarist for the Who Dats.

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