The VFW Post 3762 Riders are encouraging the community to attend the first “Never Say No to Veterans” poker run being held on Saturday, June 3 as they give away a special prize to one lucky veteran.
Over the past few years, the VFW Riders have been hard at work attempting to help the many veterans struggling in one aspect or another find the assistance they need. This has included building ramps for disabled veterans, helping to pay electric bills and donating thousands of dollars to the men and women who served in the armed forces. The spirit of giving continues this year as the riders have been busy doing all of this and more.
According to VFW Riders President Duke Hanscel, the efforts have not just been from members. Over the years they have received help from many local businesses and individuals in the form of monetary donations, deals on construction and other equipment, and hours of volunteer work. These efforts have once again come together and, this time, will bring a special chance for a local veteran to win a custom military-themed Harley Davidson Softail motorcycle.
“We came up with this idea since the demands have increased on the group for assistance,” Hanscel said. “Two rides a year are just not doing it unfortunately. With so many benefit rides out there you have to be able to compete. We went at this from a two-fold angle, what can we do different and what can we do about their mental well-being? We go out and build wheel chair ramps and take care of physical and financial needs of veterans, but what about their mental needs?”
Hanscel said the group of riders are all veterans and they asked themselves, “What do we do so our problems seem to disappear?” The answer was simple for them, they ride on a motorcycle.
“We thought what better to help the mental well-being of a veteran than to put them on a motorcycle,” Hanscel said. “So we approached (Gary Benson) Red’s Custom Cycle and that very night we came up with the idea. He pitched in $1,000 and then went and picked up the bike that night.”
The support would not end there as the bike needed to be fixed, painted and customized before they knew it would be ready for a veteran. They contacted Court House Custom (CHC) the next day and CHC supported the project with a donation of $1,500 of custom work on the bike. Soon the group was receiving assistance from a few sources including hours of donated custom work from Rough Cut Cycles owner, John Everhart Sr. in Leesburg, which was done entirely for free.
“Just like last year when we did the Never Say No program, we got all the local business involved again,” Hanscel said. “Gusweiler stayed on board and they donate charity checks to us regularly. Quali-Tee, just like last year, donated 100 shirts that they printed, as well as our banners, for free. Ranchers, our good friend Fred Wollscheid, stayed on with us and will donate 20 percent of all breakfast sales between June 1-7 and we have the Village Pump and Pizza (in Jeffersonville) donating 20 percent of all sales from June 1-7.”
Hanscel also said that the paint job on the bike was done on discount by Aaron Lynch with Lynch Concepts (who was booked months in advance). Lynch wanted to help after hearing their story and idea for the bike. In just a few short weeks, the bike was painted and returned to the riders.
The poker run will be held on Saturday, June 3 starting with sign-ups at 9 a.m. at the VFW Post 3762. The entry fee is $25 per bike and includes participation in the ride, food, support for the band Apt. B and eligibility for any veteran to win the bike. Starting at noon, riders will leave from the VFW and will return at 5 p.m. at Streetside 62 in Washington Court House. Apt. B will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. and anyone wishing to attend the party can do so for $10. A 50/50 winner and the bike winner will be announced at 7 p.m. All veterans are eligible to win the bike, but must be in attendance and must have proof of service.
“Road Hawk Magazine has also been supporting us, running our flyers and has helped to get the word out for us,” Hanscel said. “It is just like our Never Say No program, we are bringing a lot of people together to raise a good amount of money. We don’t just build ramps, we feed veterans for free, we help fix vehicles, we pay veterans electric bills, you name it. We are gambling a lot on this, and if it gets rained out we may be in a problem, but I have a good feeling everything is going to be okay. We just want to encourage the community to come help veterans support veterans.”
For more information, contact VFW Post 3762 Riders vice president Mike Slocum at (740) 505-2632 or president Duke Hanscel at (740) 505-2632. Also follow VFW Riders Post 3762 on Facebook for more details.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy