I received an email from my brother with Combat Vets saying that we were meeting at 0530. Now that is 5:30 a.m., as in the morning, for those of you that have not been in the military. Now military or not, that’s early! And if kickstands are going up for a ride to Springfield, Missouri by 5:30, that means I have to drag my old antique butt out of bed by even earlier in order to get my eyes open and down to QT off 435 & Front Street by 5:30. Who in their right mind would want to get up at 0-dark-30 on a Saturday morning with temps in the high 30s?
OK, nobody, unless it is for a good ride with your brothers and the ride is for a great purpose like Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association’s annual “All Patriots Run" with all the proceeds going to the Fisher House.
The Fisher House™ program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times, during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.
There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 10,000 families, and has made available nearly 2.5 million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!
Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association of Springfield, Missouri not only helps organize and sponsor, but they also pay to ride in their annual poker run. After stopping for breakfast, gas and hot coffee, it was time to saddle up and head south on Route 13 to Springfield. The waitress was still smiling when one of us asked if we could pour some hot coffee on our hands and feet for the ride still ahead of us.
As we arrived in Springfield, the weather warmed up, and it looked like it would be a fine day for a ride through and around the Springfield area. Pulling into the parking lot of Cruisin’ 66 Cycles, we parked our bikes, registered and, after some more coffee, started to warm up and began to visit with the other riders from around the state. We met STAR touring and riding group, American Legion Riders and others, ready to ride. One by one, or group by group, the riders rode off for their first stop of the 100-mile poker run through the rolling hills. After what turned out to be a warm day to ride, we all met back at Cruisin’ 66 for the drawings, fun and entertainment.
The winner of the grand prize, a Springfield Armory 1911 .45 cal. pistol was Mark Davis of Springfield, Missouri. Scott "Ace" Yarber was home on leave from pre-deployment status and came by for about 30 minutes, bought a 50/50 ticket, and told Betty Jo "Cookie" Williams that if he won to donate it back. Well he won and his portion was $263. We raised $3,000 for the Springfield Missouri Veterans Cemetery, which will be donated on May 26 at the Memorial Day celebration.
We had 87 bikes, 27 passengers, and sold 131 poker hands. We had members from the CVMA from Little Rock, Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas City, Missouri, and Lake of the Ozarks area. A great time was had by all that attended. The ride home was a bunch warmer, and after donating our time and money for a good cause we all rode home as we always do feeling good in our hearts because we helped support American troops, both past and present.
By Phil Peeler