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'It's our turn to help him smile': FM Legion riders surprise Moorhead man known for his kindness

John Cunningham can often be spoted in front of the Eventide Living Center on 8th street in Moorhead, waving at people driving by.

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John Cunningham, ready to hit the road with motorcyclists from the FM Legion riders.
Mike McGurran
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Riders of the FM Legion gather outside the Moorhead American Legion post 21 on August 28, a rainy morning.

Their motorcycles aren't exactly quiet, but they're on a mission that requires some stealth.

"He don't know this is going on as a complete surprise," says Wayne Hogenson, one of the FM Legion riders. "It's been taken through his wife and eventide. They're in on it. And we're going to surprise him."

He's talking about surprising John Cunningham. You might not know the name, but if you ever drive by Eventide on Eighth street in Moorhead, you probably recongize him. He's well known for spending his hours waving at passerby in front of the building. He was honored with the "Moorheart" award by the city of Moorhead last July.

Today, the legion riders want to thank him for his kind gestures with one of their own

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"He's made everybody smile for years," said Doug Dietrich, another rider with the FM Legion. "And it's our turn to help him smile for the day and make it right for him."

The riders leave the parking lot, heading to Eventide, where they meet John and his wife in front of the building.

They honor John, a former motorcyclist with a Jacket from Harley Davidson.

Then, comes the big surprise. They brought a motorcycle with a sidecar for John, where they'll take him for a ride across Lake's Country.

"We looked forward to waving at you every day, and you make all of us smile all the time in the whole city, and the least we can do is come and make you smile," Doug told John.

"I'm in heaven," John replied.

He was totally caught off guard by the surprise. He told me many people have let him known what his kindness has meant to them in the past, and a surprise like this will be sure to keep him going in the future.

"People like these guys and gals just make it well worthwhile," John said, smiling from ear to ear.

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With that, they hit the road for a day of fun, with John at their side.

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