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Tour of Honor comes to Fairmont

Charley Maday, vice-chairman of the Martin County Veterans Memorial Committee, stands by a sign recently put up to welcome riders from the Tour of Honor. The Tour of Honor is a national motorcycle event in which riders in all 50 states travel to veterans memorials.

FAIRMONT — Visitors to the Martin County Veterans Memorial (MCVM) will see a new sign up, courtesy of Visit Fairmont, welcoming riders of what is known as the Tour of Honor. A national event, the Tour of Honor is a summer-long motorcycle event that allows participants a chance to see the country and honor veterans from all 50 states. The MCVM is one of seven Minnesota sites picked for the event in 2021.

Chuck Mixson of the MCVM committee explains how the event landed on Fairmont as a destination for this year’s tour.

“I was working there last year and a guy pulls up in a motorcycle with a military vest on,” he said. “So I walked over and asked if I could answer any questions.”

As it turns out, the man was a scout for the event who had heard about the Memorial. Two weeks later, Mixson met another man at the site, who was also with the Tour of Honor. From there, it was a simple discussion.

The Tour of Honor is a non-profit group that raises money to help military personel, as well as police and firemen, EMTs, and people that get hurt in the line of duty. Mixson explains what happens when people sign up with the organization for a $125 fee.

“Part of the money that you send them goes to a charity that you can pick yourself and they send you a patch and various things, but they also send you a towel. It’s a Tour of Honor Towel that will have a personal number on it.

“So every memorial that you go to, you take a picture of yourself with your motorcycle at that memorial [and towel] and you send it in. Then you get certificates and plaques and stuff like that.”

Mixson shared that riders either get together in groups or they can choose to ride solo. Some veterans even choose to go to every memorial on the list, throughout the entire United States.

The event began on April 1, and will go through October 31.

“People will be coming here all summer,” Mixson said. “So what I thought was that the restaurants and hotels have had such a terrible year because of COVID. So I took it upon myself to go to almost all the restaurants and places in town.”

Mixson went on the share that Poppe’s 66 will put information on their sign welcoming the riders and will also have brochures in the gas station for people to pick up. The Channel Inn, Ambiance on Albion, Pizza Ranch, Jake’s Pizza, Holiday Inn, and several other businesses will provides discounts and other perks for the riders as well.

“What I tried to do was get people to stay here in Fairmont. So if they’re riding the whole thing in a weekend or something, then maybe this will be the place that they’ll stop and come into our restaurants and hotels.” Mixson then talked with Stephanie Busiahn, Executive Director at Visit Fairmont.

“People with their motorcycles can take their picture with it. There will be a QR code on there that they’ll be able to scan with their phone that will take them to our website. Then they’ll know where these places are in Fairmont and they can go get the discounts if we can get them to stay in town.

“Then the way they get their discout is with their towel. So not anybody can get it, and hopefully we can keep business here in town.

Those who want to learn more about the Tour of Honor or the Martin County Veterans Memorial can check out their website at mcvm.org

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