Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2011

CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov

Pony Express Riders to Raise Awareness of Children’s Mental Health

May 16-22 is Children’s Mental Health Week

Lincoln—“Pony Express” riders will roar their motorcycles across the state to collect and deliver hundreds of letters to the State Capital about children’s mental health. The letters have been written by youth, families, professionals and others to thank supporters and raise awareness about children’s mental health.

“This ride will help reduce the stigma that can discourage families from getting the help they need,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “I plan to ride my own motorcycle along the route for a portion of the way.”

The core group of motorcyclists are volunteers from the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Its members, the Eagle Riders, want to help promote awareness of children’s behavioral health needs during Children’s Mental Health Week, May 16-22. Anyone interested in joining the ride can go to http://foeeagleriders.com/nebraska.html.

The riders will collect pledges from individuals and businesses, with all proceeds going to the Nebraska Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.

The ride will span almost 900 miles over three days. Motorcyclists from across the state are expected to join the Eagle Riders. They will begin their journey with a kick-off celebration in Alliance on Thursday, May 19. From Alliance, the riders will travel to Bridgeport, Sidney, Ogallala, North Platte, Lexington, Kearney, Grand Island, York, Columbus, Norfolk and Blair, collecting letters along the way. The motorcycle run will end at the State Capitol Building in Lincoln on May 21 at approximately 1:30 – 2:00 pm

“The letters are important because they share information about the experiences of families and children who face behavioral health challenges,” Adams said. “We want to increase understanding about the mental health issues they face.”

Organizations sponsoring the event are the Nebraska Federation for Children’s Mental Health, Parents Speak Out, Voices 4 Families, Families CARE, Parent to Parent, Families Inspiring Families, and the Nebraska Family Support Network.

Parents of children with mental health needs can contact the Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660. It is available 24 hours a day, staffed by trained personnel who can talk to the families and connect them with resources. Parents may be referred to Family Navigator Services. Family Navigators are people who have experience with children and teens with mental health needs. Another resource is the Network of Care website at http://dhhs.ne.gov/behavioral_health/Pages/networkofcare_index.aspx. This website can provide information about services, medications, insurance, pending legislation and research about behavioral health.

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Here is the ride’s itinerary. For updates check http://www.nefamilies4kids.org/. Motorcyclists from areas not along the route will join the main group of riders.

Start Day One, May 19

Leave: Alliance at 8:00 am, MST, Eagles Club #136, 1520 W 3rd Street, head toward Bridgeport Eagles # 2831, 1018 Main St., 38 miles (estimated time: 36 minutes), travel U.S. HWY 385
Arrive: Bridgeport 8:36 am MST, fuel and letter pick-up and meet riders from Scottsbluff. Bridgeport Eagles (308-262-1172)

Leave: Bridgeport at 8:00 am MST, S.P.E.A.K.O.U.T, 212 W. 27th Street, head toward Bridgeport Eagles #2831, 1018 Main St., 35 miles (estimated time: 40 minutes), travel U.S. Highway 92
Arrive: Bridgeport 8:40 MST, fuel and letter pick-up and meet riders from Alliance

Leave: Bridgeport #2831 at 9:00 MST, head toward Sidney, stop at
Sapp Bros. Truck Stop, 48 miles (estimated time: 45 minutes), travel U.S. HWY 385
Arrive: Sidney at 9:45 MST, Sapp Bros., fuel and letter pick-up and meet riders

Leave: Sidney at 10:00 MST, Sapp Bros., head toward Ogallala, 320 East 1st St., gas station fuel stop, 89 miles (estimated time: 95 minutes), travel Hwy U.S. 385/30
Arrive: Ogallala at 11:35 am MST, fuel and letter pick-up

Leave: Ogallala at 11:45 am MST, head toward North Platte #2839, 620 N. Chestnut, 55 miles (estimated time: 60 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 26/30
Arrive: North Platte at 1:45 pm CST, fuel, letter pick-up, regroup and lunch stop. Voices 4 Families will meet riders (308-534-3304)

Leave: North Platte #2839 2:55 pm CST, head toward Lexington Eagles #2922, 113 W. 5th Street, 65 miles (estimated time: 60 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 30
Arrive: Lexington Eagles #2922 at 3:55 pm CST, fuel and letter pick-up

Leave: Lexington #2922 4:15 pm CST, head towards Kearney Eagles Nest Plaza, 4009 6th Ave., Kearney, (Families CARE), 42 miles (estimated time: 45 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 30
Arrive: Kearney, 5:00 CST, Eagles Nest Plaza, 4009 6th Ave

Leave: Kearney at 5:40, Families CARE, head towards Kearney Eagles, 17 W. 24th Street
Arrive: Kearney, 5:50 pm CST, Eagles #2722, Beer and Burger Night, letter pick- up
Host Motel: Microtel, 104 Talmadge Ave, Kearney (308-698-3003)

Start Day Two, May 20

Leave: Kearney #2722 at 9:00 am CST, 17 W. 24th street, head toward Harley Davidson Central, 2719 S Locust, 43 miles (estimated time: 60 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 30
Arrive: Grand Island, 10:00 am, CST, Harley Davidson Central, fuel and letter pick-up

Leave: at 10:30 am CST, Harley Davidson Central, head towards York #3990, 610 Lincoln Ave, 45 miles (estimated time: 55 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 34/81
Arrive: York #3990 at 11:25 am CST, fuel, letter pick-up and lunch

Leave: York #3990 at 12:00 pm and travel to Epworth Village, 2119 Division Ave.
Arrive: 12:05 CST, Epworth Village in York, (40 minutes allotted)

Leave: Epworth Village at 12:45 pm, head toward Columbus #1834, 3205 12th Street, 50 miles (estimated time: 65 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 81, pick up U.S. 30 at Columbus
Arrive: Columbus #1834 at 1:50 pm, letter pick-up

Leave: Columbus #1834 at 2:40 pm, head to Parents to Parents Network, 201 Miller Ave, Norfolk, 45 miles (estimated time: 50 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 30/81, Monroe Ave, 2nd St
Arrive: Norfolk at 3:30 pm CST, Parents to Parents, 30 minutes allotted

Leave: at 4:00 pm CST, Parents to Parents and head towards Eagles #3611, 210 Northwestern Ave, Norfolk (estimated time: 2 minutes)
Arrive: Norfolk Eagles #3611, 4:05 pm CST, 210 Northwestern Ave., letter pick-up

Leave: Norfolk Eagles #3611, 4:35 pm CST, 210 Northwestern Ave., fuel stop, head toward Blair, Econolodge, 1355 HWY U.S. 30, 90 miles (estimated time: 90 minutes), travel U.S. 275 & U.S. 91 & U.S. 30
Arrive: Blair at 6:05 pm CST, Econolodge, Blair Eagle Riders will shuttle to VFW, pulled pork sandwiches, letter pick-up
Host motel Econolodge, 1355 HWY U.S. 30

Start Day Three, May 21

Breakfast served at VFW/EAGLES, 393 River Rd., 8:00 to 9:00
Leave: Blair at 9:30 am, VFW/Eagles 393 River Rd, head toward Elkhorn #3943, 302 East Douglas St., 20 miles (estimated time: 30 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 30 & U.S. 31
Arrive: Elkhorn #3943 at 10:00 am, letter pick-up

Leave: Bellevue #3912 at 8:50 CST, 209 W Mission, head to Nebraska Family Support Network, 3568 Dodge, Omaha (estimated time: 25 minutes)
Arrive: at 9:15 am, Omaha, Nebraska Family Support Network
Leave: 9:45 CST, Family Support Network, Omaha, head towards 309 E. Douglas, Elkhorn Eagles Aerie # 3943, Bellevue riders pick route (estimated time: 40 minutes)
Arrive: Elkhorn 10:25 am, 302 E. Douglas Rd.

Leave: Elkhorn #3943 at 11:00 am, head toward Lincoln #147, 500 West Industrial Lake, 45 miles (estimated time: 65 minutes), travel U.S. Hwy 31, U.S. 6, I 1-80, Cornhusker Hwy, Sunset Boulevard, West Industrial Lake Drive
Arrive: Lincoln #147 12:05 pm, lunch and letter pick-up

Staging time for parade: 1:30 pm CST at Lincoln Aerie #147
Leave: Lincoln #147 at 1:30 for State Capitol. Parade route is still being determined.