The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

15th Annual Pony Express Rides Through Sidney

 

The normal casual start of a Thursday morning was briefly interrupted last week when a group of motorcyclists entered Sidney from West Highway 30.

The interruption of normal was not an invasion, but rather an attention-grabbing method for a social issue: the mental health of children.

Volunteer motorcyclists rode across Nebraska from May 18 through May 21 for the 15th annual Pony Express Ride, an effort to raise awareness about children’s mental health. The ride will finish at the Nebraska State Capitol at 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 21.

Their stops in Sidney included Family 4Ward, Kids Korner and Here We Grow. The ride started in Scottsbluff Wednesday. Following the stops in Sidney, the motorcyclists went to Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg, and Kearney for the night. Friday morning the riders resumed their Friday morning enroute to Lincoln.

The ride focuses on the message that mental health is fundamental to overall health – a message shared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

These bikers will kick off their ride in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 18. During the ride, these dedicated riders will reenact the mail-delivery service of the historic Pony Express by picking up letters about children’s mental health written by youth, their families and other supporters, and delivering them to the steps of the State Capitol to DHHS Chief Executive Officer Dannette R. Smith and Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen.

“For the past 15 years, these great partners have helped raise awareness for children’s mental health,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Half of all lifetime mental illness begins at the age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24. It’s so important to start these necessary conversations early, which allows your child to get needed help as soon as possible. If you are concerned about mental, behavioral, or emotional symptoms in your child, talk to your child’s doctor or health care provider. Help is available and effective.”

The riders will begin their journey in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 18. On Thursday, May 19, the riders will make stops in Kimball, Sidney, Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg, and Kearney.

May 20l took the riders to Grand Island, York, Columbus, Norfolk, and Fremont. On the final day, Saturday, May 21, the riders kicked off the NAMI Nebraska Walk at BoysTown Pacific Street in Omaha, before wrapping up the tour on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol, where the letters will be delivered.

Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:

Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660

Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 para Español

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

 

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