LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Thunder emitting from the tail pipes of two-wheeled beasts soared above the howling wind. Yes, maybe some riders decided to stay home that day, but the rugged motorcycle crowd on a mission to help veterans in their community couldn’t be stopped.
“Vets Helping Vets.” The proud motto of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association was the inspiration for the event that brought together motorcycle riders from all walks of life.
The Las Cruces CVMA, chapter 47-1, hosted their first Vets Helping Vets Benefit Run and Endurance Endeavor March 9 and 10 at Barnett’s Harley Davidson in Las Cruces, N.M.
“It’s an opportunity to raise some money that we are going to put towards veterans funds like Camp Hope, a homeless shelter for veterans; the New Mexico State Veterans Home and the [Disabled American Veterans],” said Sgt. Maj. William “Willie” Fisk, chapter commander of CVMA 47-1 and the executive officer of the US Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“We get the community of bikers and veterans introduced to these organizations so they know that they got them.”
Veteran’s organizations like the DAV, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans Organization from New Mexico State University, and others line the aisles of the motorcycle store. Friendly representatives engaged those walking by with helpful information and smiles.
Tables were topped with paper bags filled with raffle tickets. Each ticket is hope – someone’s hope to win the prize, and someone’s hope fulfilled from the cost of a raffle ticket. All prizes were donated by local businesses ensuring the maximum amount of money makes it to the veterans.
“I’ve got such a great group of guys, they just bust their humps. The great thing about being a group of veterans is veterans like to work; they like to get [things] done,” said Fisk describing the people in the CVMA. “I’m just fortunate enough to get to stand among them.”
The CVMA not only provides assistance for veterans in the community, they pride themselves on taking care of their own, as Kaylynn Banks, an auxiliary member of the CVMA described.
“My husband and I fell on some hard times not long after we joined the CVMA. He had just gotten out of the military and we had some financial difficulties,” she said.
“We reached out to them and asked if they could help. They were able to pull us back up financially in a way that I don’t think anyone else would have. That showed me how much of a brotherhood this association really is.”
The brotherhood has spread across the U.S. in 49 States with approximately 9,000 members Fisk mentioned. “We’re still working on Utah. Utah has four members.”
Every Soldier returning from deployment returns in a different state of physical and mental well-being. Fisk said there is a way to make the transition easier.
“The best message that I can pass to Soldiers coming home, veterans, is get involved in something,” said Fisk. “It helps you heal mentally and physically. Find that thing that makes you smile and get involved. Help out your community, you’ll feel a lot better; you’ll heal a lot quicker.”