I have decided to write two articles for this month’s Veteran Rider’s page, so your normal monthly tour of duty with me has been involuntarily extended. I wish to share with you another veteran related web site and its supporting organization, followed by a short reflective article on the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Actually, the group I was fortunate to interview for this month is tightly connected to Memorial Day, as they all must have served in combat to be a member of their association. Now, this does not take away from all the of non-combat fellow veterans, as the CVMA are more focused on the challenges faced by those who have faced hostile fire and are trying to fit back into society, both professionally and psychologically. Some returning combat veterans seem to meld right back into their pre-combat life, while others have issues still to resolve, but will never forget. Without further rambling on, let’s get into the interview with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association!
Mike Minor is the president of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and was gracious enough to provide the following information and photographs.
CC: How did your association get its start?
Mike: Back in 2000, a group of 45 combat Veterans from across the country came together, after becoming dissatisfied the many of the veteran motorcycle organizations. Our first headquarters was established at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
CC: What drove you to create a new veteran motorcycle organization and web site?
Mike: We found that many veteran web sites were not placing enough emphasis and focus on Veterans and their unique issues.
CC: What is the significance of the name of your association?
Mike : We are 100% percent verified Combat Veterans from Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Desert Storm I & II and Operation Enduring Freedom (Iraq).
CC: Is it a national club? If so, where is the headquarters located and in which states do you have active chapters?
Mike: Yes, the national headquarters is registered as a not for profit corporation in Missouri. We have membership in 37 states.
CC: What message does your club want to send out to fellow veterans and the community?
Mike: We are veterans for veterans, and are willing to help those which are in need at anytime and anywhere.
CC: Since you are the President of the National organization, how long do you hold the office?
Mike: I hold the office for three-years, whereupon new elections are held by the National convention.
CC: Does your Association have any exclusion’s: motorcycles, ages, sex, etc.?
Mike: Members must ride a motorcycle 500cc or larger, all makes are accepted.
CC: Does your club have any special rules the members MUST follow?
Mike: Never dishonor themselves or the Association.
CC: What is the cost to become a member?
Mike: Our annual dues are $15.
CC: Do you have a special club patch or badge?
Mike: Yes, our patch has a black background with Military Gold lettering. In the center is a skull, the skull is gold, black, red and white.
CC: How do you become a member?
Mike: Members can apply on online, but are required to submit paper work proving combat service. There is no prospecting or initiation time. Their time in combat is all that is required.
CC: Do you have any local or national famous club members?
Mike: We don’t have any famous members; however, we do have several members that are doctors, lawyers, business owners and other professionals.
CC: Are there any annual events you sponsor directly or indirectly?
Mike: Solely as a group, our state chapters organize and sponsor annual runs in Missouri, Colorado and Kentucky. The event is duly named “The All Patriots Run.” As our association grows in memberships and state chapters, additional events will be sponsored.
Mike: We support any run/rally that is Veteran related, such as the Yellow Ribbon Run in Omaha, Nebraska, organized and ran by the Rollin Plains Motorcycle Club.
CC: Do you have both open and closed events/activities?
Mike: All charity events are open to the public. Our national meetings and chapter meeting are closed to members only.
CC: In the last 12 months, what most singular event displayed the essence of your club?
Mike: The Missouri chapter sponsored the first All Patriots Run last May. Also, the same chapter with only 10 members sponsored a poker run to support the Missouri State Veterans home in Cameron, Missouri. Our association sponsored an Oktoberfest at the Liberty, Missouri local VFW post to raise money to purchase hospital coats and shoes. The Kentucky chapter sponsored a run to raise money and collect clothing for homeless veterans. The Colorado chapter sponsored a run to raise money for the Denver Veterans Nursing home. The Maine chapter conducts a veterans run each year to support the Veterans Outreach Centers throughout their state.
CC: What is the major intent of your web site?
Mike: We use it to share information across the United States and to those interested throughout the world. Our web site relays our basic purpose and intent to other combat veterans. It also contains information on Veterans benefits, as well as information on the various runs and events we support. Take the time to visit our web site; we believe you will find it very interesting and possibly useful (http://www.combatvet.org).
CC: What else should I share with our readers about your association?
Mike: For he who has fought this day, and shed his blood will be my brother. We are a social organization, which strives to help other Veterans in need.
CC: Mike thanks for the insight into your association. The path your organization has taken is not an easy one, nor well supported. Throughout our history as a Nation, to many in our government: politicians, private citizens and even our own military leadership have turned their backs on returning combat veterans. They always seem to have a ready excuse: not enough money, can’t define the problem(s), no medical precedence, etc. But these challenges have never stopped our patriots from answering the call to arms, in peacetime or during hostility. It takes courageous men and women to continue this unpopular fight, supporting those who were put in harms way. These Veterans were sent to defend this country and its worldwide interests. Once the job was done, they were mostly left to fend for themselves. Today, with ongoing daily combat actions in Iraqi, we are just beginning to see battle worn veterans returning back home. The war on terrorism will be a long one, resulting in many of our brothers and sisters returning home in a lot of emotional pain. I hope all veteran organizations are gearing up for this new wave of returning walking wounded, as these honorable Veterans will require the support of their Nation, both the government and its citizens.