"Hogs and Heroes" - 2nd Annual Bike Show Huge Success

By Renee Courtney | August 25, 2013

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.

The money raised from the event was earmarked for the Recreational Department. Hogs and Heroes Chapter 2 President John Boyles (left; second from right) presented the check to Thomas J. Gallagher, Chief of Voluntary Service (holding check left).

“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.”

Gallagher explained that the money would help the veterans be able to go on outings and buy recreational equipment that would aid in their quality of life.

Northern West Virginia's Outstanding Teen Winner Kristen Leonard (right) spoke about her non-profit organization, Shining Scars, which she created in 2012.

“I have realized that growing up with scars isn't a bad thing,” Leonard said. “It tells a story about how much stronger you are than you were before and they can help you tell your story. My organization is there for children, teens, everyday citizens, our veterans, and our troops because everyone who has extreme circumstance, or life-threatening experience, they go home with a scar, whether it is emotional or physical. My organization will always be a very proud supporter of our veterans and our troops today.”

Leonard thanked the veterans for giving her freedom and liberty.

“That is what is helping me pursue my dreams today.”

Among those in attendance was Owen Schmitt (left), who was previously a fullback at WVU and went on to play a season in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.

During the opening ceremonies, Boyles presented Schmitt with an honorary membership to the Hogs and Heroes Foundation West Virginia chapter.

“I appreciate everyone here today,” Schmitt said. “I had members from the chapter ask me about two months ago if I would come down and hang out with you guys, and I couldn't think of a better thing to support than the Hogs and Heroes Foundation, so I appreciate you guys making me an honorary member."

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.”

Schmitt also visited several patients in the day room at the nursing home that is dedicated to retired Corporal Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams of the United States Marine Corps.

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.

“I think what is really nice is that Hogs and Heroes wanted to make sure the event was close to the medical center so our veterans who are hospitalized were able to come out and enjoy it,” said Public Affairs Officer Wesley Walls.

“We have had several patients who have come out from the nursing home and a lot of our community living center patients. It was also very important that Owen came in and visited with the patients for awhile; I know they enjoyed that.”

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.

Walls said that this was the first year the bike show has been on the facility grounds, and plans are in the works to make it a two-day event next year and expand to the Amphitheater.

“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.”

During the ceremonies, the administration of the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital was recognized for its service to the veterans and participation in the day's event.

“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.”

Director Beth Brown (left), Public Affairs Officer Wesley Walls and Chief of Voluntary Service Thomas Gallagher were presented with certificates of appreciation by Hogs and Heroes Chapter 2 President John Boyles.

“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.”

Brown thanked the Hogs and Heroes foundation for coordinating the day's event.

“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.”

Also recognized were what Jarvis described as Chapter 2 all-stars.

“These people have exceeded all expectations putting this event together,” Jarvis said.
Dan “Top” Suttles (right) was recognized for spending countless hours collecting over $3,000 in sponsorships for the day's event.

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.

Ron and Barbara McVaney (right, left and far right) were also presented with a Jeep for the Mountaineer Military Museum in Weston.

“This museum has artifacts from all wars all West Virginia,” Jarvis said. “Tim Miller (right, center) of Chapter 2 has donated to that collection and the museum a military vehicle. Today we want to dedicate that vehicle's donation to the museum.” Jarvis said.

“The Hogs and Heroes Foundation has been a good friend to the museum since day one said,” Ron McVaney.

He also invited everyone to come and see the museum during its grand opening on Veteran's Day.

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.

Marine Corp veteran, Jamie Summerlin, who ran from Oregon to Delaware in 100 days (Freedom Run) to honor his heroes in the U.S. Military, and all veterans who have served.  for also had a few words for those in attendance.

“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.”

Summerlin stated it was an honor to make the journey across the United States to raise money and awareness for the U.S. Military and veterans alike.

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.

Chapter 2 member Sharman Martinez performed the song “I Won't Let Go,” by Rascal Flatts while members of Hogs and Heroes presented attending veterans with pins and showed their appreciation with handshakes, hugs and even tears.

“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.”

Secretary of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association and retired Army Sergeant First Class E7, Mark Sandy mentioned an upcoming elimination dinner in Fairmont to be held for Potomac Highlands Wounded Warriors of West Virginia on Sept. 2 at the VFW on Fairmont Ave.

“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.”

“This event was organized for the veterans,” said Hogs and Heroes Chapter 2 Quarter Master Seth Boyles.

Speaking of all the different organizations that got together to support the cause on Saturday, Boyles had this to say.

“It means a lot. We basically stand for the same thing, supporting our vets that have protected and are protecting us. During events like this, we all join together and support and lean on each other.”

Officers from the Hogs and Heroes Foundation West Virginia Chapter 2 are as follows;
President: John Boyles
Vice President: Jody Davis 
Secretary: Patty Martinez
Treasurer: Heather Boyles 
Quartermaster: Seth Boyles
Sergeant at Arms: Shawn Spurlock

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”

Winners are depicted in photos left to right.

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