Hogs and Heroes Foundation raised over $4,416 at the 2nd Annual Hogs and Heroes Bike show held on the grounds of the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital on Saturday, Aug. 24.
“On behalf of our director Ms. Brown and most of all our patients, I want to say thank you,” Gallagher said. This money is going to go a long way to help our veteran patients.”
Northern West Virginia's Outstanding Teen Winner Kristen Leonard (right) spoke about her non-profit organization, Shining Scars, which she created in 2012.
Leonard thanked the veterans for giving her freedom and liberty.
“That is what is helping me pursue my dreams today.”
During the opening ceremonies, Boyles presented Schmitt with an honorary membership to the Hogs and Heroes Foundation West Virginia chapter.
Schmitt was then invited to visit with some of the patients at the VA hospital and nursing home. One of those he met was Clyde Bunner (right), who was married to the very first Miss West Virginia. Bunner will soon be turning 92 years old. He was very happy to see Schmitt and directed him to look at all of his photos he had on his wall. When it was time to go, Schmitt told Bunner to take care. Instead of the expected “you too,” Bunner replied with a smile and said “You're big enough you won't get hurt.”
One resident tried without success to get Schmitt to sing. “I'm not much of a singer at all,” Schmitt said, but they all enjoyed witty exchanges of stories and jokes. Although Schmitt didn't sing, he did sign autographs and take photos with the residents.
Walls (right) explained that a patient who had been in the residential rehab program at the facility enjoyed it so much that he approached the Hogs and Heroes Foundation to request their assistance.
“When he came out, he wanted to make sure there was enough money to support that program,” Walls said.
“That way they can book a show one day and the bike show the next day,” Walls said. “The Hogs and Heroes are adamant about doing it bigger and better.”
“We would like to thank Veterans Hospital Administration for hosting this event,” said Hogs and Heroes member Boonie Jarvis. “It is all possible through you and why we are doing it.”
“What an awesome day and opportunity for all of us to come together in tribute to our veterans,” Brown said. “To those veterans that are out there, thank you so much for your service and for what you do for us every day.”
“One of the opportunities that this event is going to help to provide for our veterans who are in special programs is the opportunity to learn how to deal with their spare time through recreational activities,” Brown said. “Many of us have hobbies, but we don't realize how important those hobbies are until we are in a rehabilitation program and need to learn how to deal with our discretionary time. Through the funds that this event will provide, our veterans will learn about fishing and camping and outdoor activities and how to use their time wisely. Also they will get the opportunity to enjoy things like baseball games, football games and camping trips, and other kinds of outings. It's your support today and throughout the year that helps us with that.”
Secretary Patty “McGhee” Martinez (left) was recognized as well for her efforts.
“She has kept meticulous notes, kept everything organized, and volunteered well beyond normal means to make this happen,” Jarvis said.
“The Hogs and Heroes Foundation has been a good friend to the museum since day one said,” Ron McVaney.
The McVaneys were also presented a certificate of honorary membership to the Hogs and Heroes of America by “Rider” of Hogs and Heroes Chapter 1.
“I don't want to single anyone out,” said Summerlin, “But one thing I always try to do when I am at any of these is events, to our Vietnam vets....I just want to say, 'Welcome home.' We truly appreciate your service and all the sacrifices you made, and I always want to make sure you feel welcome.”
The theme of this particular event was “You're Not Alone,” which was intended to honor and stand for the appreciation that the Foundation has for all Veterans.
“This is great; it's what we live for,” said retired Army Sergeant E5, Tim Treadway who is also a member of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association of West Virginia Chapter 37-1. “To help our fellow brothers and sisters out and do anything we can for them. That is our sole purpose, to take care of our own.”
“It's good to see veterans getting out to support other veterans,” Combat Vets Motorcycle Association member and retired Army Staff Sergeant E6, John Stevens said. “If the veterans don't have us supporting them, who do they have? There are a lot of veterans out there that are homeless and in need of help, and right now they aren't getting that from our government. So we do the best we can to help.”
Speaking of all the different organizations that got together to support the cause on Saturday, Boyles had this to say.
Winners of the Bike Show were Best of Show: Dan “Top” Suttles, Committee Choice: Gary Bashan (was not available for photo), Peoples Choice: Bubba Sky, First Place: “Eazey” and Second Place: “Ridge”