Having fun, doing good: Flying Monkeys to raise money for Wounded Warriors

News-DemocratAugust 26, 2013 

If you need an excuse for getting away to take a motorcycle trip, raising money for the Wounded Warrior Fund is as good as any.

At least that is what the guys in the Flying Monkey Mountain Ride figure.

Six men will take a roundabout ride from Belleville out to Virginia through the Smoky Mountains starting Sunday. They have gotten pledges from friends and family and a few sponsorships and will donate that money to the WWF.

Brad Pfitzner, of Edwardsville, owner and chief executive officer of ApexNetwork Physical Therapy, said this is the second annual ride for the group which is a loose, and he does mean loose, collection of friends and acquaintances.

This year's ride includes Pfitzner and Eric Riess, an attorney from Belleville and devoted motorcycle rider. Tim Penn is a surgeon with Illinois Southwest Orthopedics. Vincent Garozzo is an attorney who lives in WIldwood, Mo. Michael Henges is retired from the U.S. Air Force, and Jason Loschinskey is active Air Force. Both now live in Florida.

Last year some of the same guys rode to San Francisco, mostly following U.S. 50 through the Rockies and on to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

"We all enjoy our bikes and somehow the idea of a ride sort of developed," Pfitzner said. "Eric suggested it and a partner in his law firm wanted to go along and a couple of his friends."

Last year involved riding through Kansas. This year promises a more scenic ride through the Smoky Mountains.

Pfitzner said they all ride Harley-Davidsons, except Penn, who rides a BMW. Every day someone is designated the leader and decides where to stop and what to do along the way.

He said Riess, though, is the ringleader of the group.

Riess said riding the bikes gives the guys some relaxation after busy professional lives. But nobody takes their motorcycle rider images to heart.

"We gave ourselves a nonsensical name so people don't think we're taking ourselves too seriously," Riess said. "We figured if you're going to have fun and you can do some good, why not do some good?

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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