CONTACT Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, DHHS (402) 471-1695 (office); (402) 405-7202 (cell); email@example.com
Holly Stevens, Eagle Riders, (308) 991-4694; Bill Primrose, Eagle Riders, (402) 463-9752
Lincoln – Even a global pandemic can't stop volunteer motorcyclists from traveling across the state from May 20 through May 23 for the 13th annual Pony Express Ride, an effort to raise awareness about children's mental health. The ride will finish at the Nebraska State Capitol at 12:30 pm on Saturday, May 23, with riders wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
The ride focuses on the message that mental health is fundamental to overall health – a message shared by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The bikers, most of whom are members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and called Eagle Riders, will kick off their ride in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 20. During the ride, these dedicated riders will reenact the mail-delivery service of the storied Pony Express by picking up letters about children's mental health written by youth, their families and other supporters, which will be delivered to state employees at the State Capitol.
“For the past 13 years, we've been proud to have the Eagle Riders as a key partner in raising awareness for children's mental health," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “Year after year, their advocacy helps us deliver the message that there is hope and there is help for those who need it. That's especially important given the challenges COVID-19 is presenting at this time."
The riders will begin their journey in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 20. On Thursday, May 21, the riders will make stops in Sidney to pick up children's letters, then head to Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg and Kearney. May 22 will take the riders to Grand Island, York, Columbus and Norfolk. The final day, May 23, the riders will wrap up the tour on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol, where the letters will be delivered. While traditionally public events are held along the route, due to COVID-19 related social distancing and crowd size limits, public celebrations will not be held.
Stops (all times local to the city's time zone) include:
Wednesday, May 20
Thursday, May 21
Friday, May 22:
Saturday, May 23:
DHHS provides many resources for families with behavioral health needs, including the Nebraska Family Helpline, a free, confidential resource for parents with questions or concerns about their child's behavior. The Helpline phone number is (888) 866-8660.