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Thendara scenic railroad offering free rides for veterans, military

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OLD FORGE — The Adirondack Scenic Railroad on Saturday will offer free train rides to veterans and active military personnel.

“It’s just a way to thank them for what they have done and are doing,” said Joe-Anne Mitchell, a worker at the tourist railroad who is organizing the POW/MIA Train.

The railroad will offer round-trip rides from its Thendara station at 10 a.m. to Carter Station and at 12:30 and 3 p.m. to Otter Lake. All rides are about one hour and 15 minutes long.

Other special rates for the rides are $12 for spouses of veterans or military members, $10 for those over 62 years of age, $8 for children ages 2 to 12 and free for children under age 2.

Mrs. Mitchell, a Brantingham resident, said she organized a similar event last year, but the ride was only a round trip from Utica to Thendara. Sixty-four people attended that ride.

The train also will carry passengers from Utica on Saturday to participate in one of the three POW/MIA rides, Mrs. Mitchell said.

American Legion Post 1376 in New Hartford will provide a color guard for the day’s festivities, while American Legion Post 893 in Old Forge is planning a picnic for attendees. Merchants have offered many gift certificates for participants in the rides.

Mrs. Mitchell said her late husband, Michael G. Mitchell, served in the Air Force for 10 years and lost several friends in the service, leading to a post-military passion for veterans causes.

“I am trying to keep his memory alive,” Mrs. Mitchell said.

She said her two grandsons, Dublin and Mason Mitchell-Moore, ages 9 and 7, participated in a ceremony at last year’s event and will be doing so again this year.

It is important to honor not only veterans and service members but also spouses and families who sacrifice with them, Mrs. Mitchell said.

“We served right alongside of these men when they served,” she said.

Anyone interested in participating in the POW/MIA train ride is asked to call the Thendara station at 369-6290 to register for seats.

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