Senator Joni Ernst Rides for Military Kids Despite Threats

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 20:12:21-04

Threats made against U.S. Senator Joni Ernst did not keep the Iowa politician from showing up to support a great cause this morning.


Around 100 motorcyclists gathered at the Loess Hills Harley Davidson Saturday morning to raise money for children of military families.


“Being so close to Offutt, it’s important to us to help those military kids.  And this is an event that all of us here really wanted to get behind and support.”


Ernst rode with them, though just a day before, Robert Simet appeared before a federal court in Council Bluffs, accused of threatening to assault the senator.


“Behind the scenes security that is involved in one of these events, it would have been difficult for anyone to actually do anything.  Highway Patrol and deputies are here which is a little more than what normally shows up,” explained Keith Callaway, director of the Western Iowa American Legion Riders.


Senator Ernst was herself deployed when her daughter was just three years old.


“We know how tough those deployments can be on our children.  And it’s organizations like this that really step out of their way and provide the activities that are necessary to help cope with the stress of having a parent deployed,” said Senator Ernst.


“Our Military Kids” provides activities like gymnastics and baseball, to kids with a parent on deployment or with a combat injury, helping to keep their minds off a tough situation.


“It’s really the kids that really have the tough time because all of a sudden now, whether it’s the father or mother, is no longer there to be with them, to talk to, to tuck them into bed,” said Callaway.


The local Harley Owners Group and Loess Hills Harley partnered together for the inaugural ride to Freedom Rock in Hamburg, IA, and back.


“It’s so emotional to see that many bikes at one time go leave on a cause.  It’s pretty cool,” said Kathy Ballard, who came with her husband Doug from Des Moines to join the ride.


All together, the ride raised between $2-3,000.  Organizers say they hope to make it an annual event.