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“Pony Express” riders take mental health support letters to state Capitol

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A group of “Pony Express” riders made a pit stop in Cody Park Thursday afternoon on their way across Nebraska.

The group, riding motorcycles instead of horses, arrived around 1:45 p.m., escorted by North Platte Police Investigator Lisa Citta.

There they picked up letters to be delivered to state officials in support of mental health services for families and children.

The riders started in Scottsbluff Wednesday and were collecting letters in several cities along the way. They plan to arrive at the Capitol in Lincoln by 1:30 p.m. Saturday to deliver the letters and celebrate with food, booths and activities for children and families.

The letters will go to Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Interim Director Tony Green and DHHS Chief Operating Officer Larry Kahl.

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Families 1st Partnership, a local nonprofit organization that coordinates a variety of services for families, provided lunch for the group.

“These riders donate all of their time and their money for their gas, their lodging, time off work and everything” said Holly Stevens, the group’s coordinator, “and so when someone is willing to feed us, that helps us be able to do it.” Janssen Motor Group provided a support trailer, which Stevens said was also important and very appreciated.

Families 1st Partnership also collected letters from local people for the riders to take to the Capitol. They have been lending similar support to the group for four years, said Families 1st Executive Director Caroline Sabin.

“I have children of my own that had to advocate for services” that were not readily available in rural areas, Stevens said. That motivated her to organize the first ride about 16 years ago. It brought together her “love of motorcycles, the (original)

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