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‘Veterans helping veterans’

About 50 motorcycle riders turned out Sunday for the first-ever Forgotten Veterans Run. Despite the rain, the event raised more than $4,000 for the Retsil Veterans Home. - Courtesy Photo
About 50 motorcycle riders turned out Sunday for the first-ever Forgotten Veterans Run. Despite the rain, the event raised more than $4,000 for the Retsil Veterans Home.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Many bikers didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits Sunday as they took to the road to show their dedication and support to military veterans.

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) raised $4,098 for the Retsil Veterans Home in Port Orchard at the first-ever Forgotten Veterans Run on Sunday.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds are going to the Retsil Veterans Home,” said John “Wings” Towers, commanding officer of CVMA, Olympic Peninsula division.

Contributors and run participants donated more than $1,200 while various sponsors including Legend Harley-Davidson in Silverdale donated about $2,800.

“It was kind of overwhelming, people coming up to donate money,” Towers said.

About 45 riders drove many miles traveling at 50 mph in pouring rain Sunday to support the Retsil Veterans Home. The group traveled from Gig Harbor to Silverdale.

“We got soaked to the bone but we had 45 hardcore people that wanted to ride,” Towers said. “We got pretty blasted by the rain.”

Towers said there was talk about canceling the motorcycle ride due to the weather, but participants wanted to ride for the Retsil Veterans Home despite the rain.

“We didn’t cancel it, we made it happen,” Towers said. “I’m sure if it wasn’t raining we would have had 200-plus riders out there.”

The bike ride ended at Legend Harley-Davidson in Silverdale with a free barbecue. The live entertainment was cancelled due to the rain, but Towers said the event went very well.

“We were surprised, we thought we (CVMA members) were the only ones who were going to be there,” Towers said.

Towers and other CVMA members are meeting with representatives from Retsil Veterans Home next week to determine exactly what the money will be used for, but Towers said they plan to help mount plasma televisions, buy pinball machines and purchase industrial furniture for the courtyard.

“The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association was founded on the belief of veterans helping veterans,” Towers said. “We focus on outside veterans that could use our help when nothing else was available to them.”

CVMA travels to Retsil each Thanksgiving to serve the veterans dinner and spend time with them.

“We make the effort to go out there,” Towers said.

Towers said the group has already discussed next year’s Forgotten Veterans Run and plan to move it to the summer.

“We’ve already talked about moving it to a Sunday in July or August,” Towers said.

Towers said CVMA looks forward to planning next year’s event and hopes good weather will draw a larger crowd.

“A special thanks goes to all the riders that attended this event during this season’s first downpour of rain,” he said. “It sure shows that when it comes to being or supporting veterans, there isn’t much that stands in their way.”

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