FIST benefit ride for Combat Vets

Justin Hall, Rhonda Khun-Miller, Scott Wyatt and James Troutner pose together for a photo before the benefit ride kicked off
Diona Eskew
Managing Editor

J’s Pub in downtown Argos opened its door for a crowd of visitors wearing leather and bandanas Saturday morning for a very special reason.
Owner Justin Hall said, “I like the guys. They are a really good group and they’re all about the community.”
The guys, are the local members of Friends in Service Together Riding Club, or F.I.S.T. RC. The group, formed four years ago, when a group of motorcycling riding friends decided to turn their love of riding into something more. Since then the group has held several benefit rides and fundraisers.
This year’s annual F.I.S.T. Marshall County Benefit ride, In Support of America’s Veterans, supported 24-year service vet, Scott Wyatt.
Wyatt served in the Army National Guard for 24 years. During that time he spent one year overseas in Iraq. From February 2003 to February 2004 Wyatt spent his days protecting convoys of American contractors.
It was during this time that Wyatt came in contact with sodium dichromate, a cancer causing chemical.
“He was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago,” said Christine Wyatt, Scott’s wife. “He has a 20-30 percent survival rate because the cancer has spread through his lymph nodes. It would have been 60 percent but because the VA (Veterans Administration) took so long to approve the tests and treatments it’s only 20 percent now.”
This Thursday, July 23, Wyatt will be undergoing another surgery. This one will be to remove his prostate, lymph nodes, bladder and spleen, which have all become ridden with cancer.
Providing recognition for the Wyatts and naming them beneficiaries of the annual benefit ride for the club was an easy decision to make, according to James Troutner, F.I.S.T. Plymouth Chapter president.
“When we had our club meeting to decide to do this year’s benefit ride for a combat vet, I knew there was no more deserving person than Scott,” said Troutner. “He’s a man of God, a devoted family man and served our country for 24 years.”
Riders came from several area riding clubs to support Wyatt and F.I.S.T. at the same time.
Several members of Wild Sons Riding Club, originally from Bremen now based in Plymouth, came to support the ride. The group recently did a benefit ride for the Bremen Boys & Girls Club to provide a scholarship fund. The funds from that ride were pooled into the scholarship fund to help cover the cost of membership to the club for families that cannot afford it on their own.
“In our world, we support all the clubs in our area. It doesn’t matter what club you belong to, we all help each other, it’s all about respect,” said one member.
“It’s not like people think,” explained Amy Patterson, significant other to a member of F.I.S.T. “It doesn’t matter what club you belong to there is a camaraderie between all riders to support each other.”
And support is just what they did. Riders came from South Bend and near the Michigan border to join in the ride. The group that met in Argos planned to meet up with more riders along the way. As the group of riders gathered at J’s Pub waiting for the time to put their kick stands up, the Wyatts had a bite to eat and met some of the riders.
Before the riders put their tires to the road, Wyatt had something to say.
“Me and my family, we thank you for what you are doing for us. I’ll keep each and every one of you in my prayers. There’s a lot more deserving people out there than me, so thank you.”
Christine Wyatt explained that the funds raised would be used to help cover medical expenses not covered by the VA. During a previous surgery the insurance covered the surgery expenses but would not cover the blood transfusion that became necessary, explained Mrs. Wyatt. Those bills add up quick. And with three children, the youngest being 9, finances have been tight.
When it was time to hit the road the riders discussed their plan.
“We are going to head out 10 to 331 to 25 to Rochester,” explained Troutner. He continued to explain the route and stops before meeting up with the club’s other chapter, F.I.S.T. Northwest Indiana (NWI), in Burns Harbor.
Once there a drawing was held to identify the winners of several raffle items including a lottery tree and a gift baskets including one basket from J’s Pub with a $20 gift card and other items. After the ride’s conclusion all funds raised will be donated to the Wyatts at a future date.
“We couldn’t do things like this without the support of the community,” said Troutner. “We just want them to know how much we appreciate the support we have received from local businesses and individuals the last four years. We look forward to future opportunities to work with the community.”
The mission of F.I.S.T. RC is, “To provide support, organized fundraising and service work to community based organizations or individuals. To foster the ideals of ‘Family, Brotherhood and Service’ through the common interest of riding motorcycles.”