The “Biker” stereotype has certainly been dulled in my lifetime. While still alive, in general, there has been significant growth in the number of motorcyclists, and therefore greater “acceptance” that motorcyclists aren’t societal deviants. What non-motorcyclists may or may not know, is that “bikers” are some of the most charitable people that I’ve ever met. Much like the local charity “5k run”, motorcyclists in every major city across the country are hosting charity events virtually every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor day.
Based on the latest VA statistics, 22 Veterans and 1 Active duty member take their own lives each day, many attributed to Post Traumatic Stress. The Battle Buddy Foundation (www.tbbf.org), based in West Chester, Ohio, is a Veteran Run, Veteran focused re-integration charity. The Battle Buddy Foundation’s primary mission is to provide highly trained psychiatric and mobility service dogs to veterans of all eras suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and physical limitations at no cost, a service currently not funded by the VA. Also focused on re-integration, “Battle Buddy” connects veterans with employment, housing, and peer support opportunities for veterans and their families. With this multi-pronged approach, The Battle Buddy Foundation is striving to eliminate the threat of suicide among veterans. After spending two years in the “sandbox” myself, this cause really hits home with me.
Last weekend the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) chapter of the Green Knights (greenknightsmmc.org) hosted their annual “Ride for Warriors” Poker Run. The Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club (MMC) is a riding group focused on safety and mentorship for Military and DoD employees around Military Bases. Coincidentally, the local WPAFB chapter has supported military related charities over the past few years, specifically The Battle Buddy Foundation for the past two. For those not familiar with a “poker run”, the given event host will publish a start time and location, from there registrants will be given route directions to about five to seven destinations. At each destination each participant will draw a card; at the end of the event, the participant with the best hand wins a prize.
Poker Runs obviously come in all shapes and sizes, some are self-guided, others involve a group ride; furthermore destinations vary depending upon the host’s taste. This year’s “Ride for Warriors” event was about a 100 mile stretch through twisty country roads from Montgomery, Greene, and Clinton counties. Like last year, the Green Knights chose a blend of restaurants and motorcycle destinations, offering participants the opportunity to browse motorcycle merchandise at various dealerships, or grab ice cream and a burger depending on the stop. At the final stop, the Green Knights raffled off several large prize baskets, 50-50, and gave away prizes for highest and lowest hand; after which participants could hang out for food, drinks, and live music.
While I undoubtedly spend a reasonable amount of time wandering around solo, I still do several charity rides each year. Is there a certain charity event you go to each year?