An estimated 6,000 motorcyclists rode in the eighth annual Wounded Veterans Run fundraiser on May 20, roaring off from Harley-Davidson in Revere at 1 p.m. and winding their way through communities including Saugus for 28 miles before ending at Suffolk Downs in East Boston mid-afternoon.
The motorcycles charted a course through portions of Malden, Melrose, Wakefield, Saugus, Revere and East Boston. A swing by Saugus Center and Riverside Cemetery came late in the ride.
“I’m blown away by the attendance, despite the forecast,” said Marine veteran Andrew Biggio of Winthrop, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Biggio came up with the ride as a way to help raise money for injured veterans.
“A lot of guys I knew were wounded and I wanted to help,” Biggio said.
The proceeds from Sunday’s motorcycle ride will benefit four veterans with New England roots: Captain Greg Galeazzi, Sergeant Brandon Korona, Sergeant Peter Rooney and Corporal Brian Johnston.
Korona, a Dracut resident and Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, was impressed by the level of participation from the bikers.
“It is amazing,” Korona said. “It’s a great outpouring of support.”
Two Saugus residents were working at Harley-Davidson at the time the motorcycles thundered off. Parts Manager Laurel Ferraro stressed that helping veterans “ is the least we can do. Everybody’s here to support these guys because of what they went through. It’s a great cause.”
“There couldn’t be a better cause,” added Parts Associate Rob Baumann.
Sunday’s rally was the first Baumann had seen.
“I didn’t know it would be as big as it is,” Baumann said.
“I told him it would be wall-to-wall,” Ferraro joked.
Among the riders was Lynn resident John Harding, who participated in his seventh Wounded Veterans Run.
Harding rode in part for his son, who is a U.S. Navy veteran.
“It gets better and better every year,” Harding said.