Veterans from United Auto Workers (UAW) 2069 in Dublin will host a poker run to the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Salem Sunday.
Mark Peterson, UAW Veterans Committee chairman, said motorcyclists throughout the New River Valley are invited to join in the 13th Annual UAW Veterans VA Hospital Poker Run. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the union hall, in front of Volvo on Cougar Trail. Riders will depart at 10:30 sharp.
The morning ride will take participants on a countryside journey through Eggleston, Newport and New Castle, before heading to the VA Hospital.
“The VA Hospital poker run promises to be a celebration of great spirit as we recognize and pay tribute to the service and sacrifices of the veterans/patients at the medical center,” said Eric Patton, recording secretary of the veterans committee. “The veterans at the VA are really proud of their service and are so supportive of each other. They tease and jest around with each other and are just a real pleasure to fellowship with. When we recognize the service branches, it’s turned into a competition of who can hoot and ooh-rah the loudest!!”
The veterans recognition program will include certificates of appreciation, several tokens of deepest gratitude and lots of hand clapping and singing, according to Patton. Activities also include a pizza party provided by the veterans committee and those participating in the event. Speakers will remark on the brave and honorable service veterans throughout history have made to our country, making us the greatest nation on earth. They will also make connections to today’s military as they follow these elder veterans’ footsteps.
“We particularly enjoy sponsoring activities at the Veterans Hospital in Salem. Over the years, the committee has gained a good reputation at the VA for providing a very festive and party-like atmosphere with the patients and staff. It’s a tremendous and fun-filled day for everyone!,” said Peterson.
Each year, the committee schedules three or four events at the Veterans Hospital, including a huge catfish fry and an inspiring and warm-hearted Christmas party.
Peterson added, “We have a great support base around the NRV, our closest friends are the NRV Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA), at the union hall the CMA will provide bike blessings and offer any help needed. They’re a great group that supports Veterans and America.”
White collar, blue collar, public servants, law enforcement and EMTs, will be involved in Sunday’s run. Peterson said they are appreciative and privileged to have the opportunity to host an event that brings so many good people together.
“At the VA Hospital, we are reminded of the problems that afflict those who answered the call of duty on and off of the battlefield. Their problems range from the terminally ill to outpatient care. We are reminded that many veterans do without, because they, too, suffer from stringent budget cuts,” said Peterson. “All across America, we find some of the oldest and most disabled, yet charming and wonderful, veterans that eagerly look forward to a fun-filled day and a little new camaraderie. For sure … it will be a blessed day.”