Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Honors Local Vets during the Gypsy Tour Poker Run

In the middle of July’s hottest week, CVMA member Kelly Vendane-Finn got a phone call: a 24-year career Air Force veteran had just had his electricity shut off. When Kelly met with him later that day, he learned the father of 5 had received a $64 donation from a local American Legion, but that alone wouldn’t cover the bill, which included a reconnect fee. After the men parted, Kelly attended a quick meeting to discuss the veteran’s situation, and the next morning, a CVMA board member hand delivered the check and the bill was paid.

When Ozarks On Two Wheels first heard Kelly tell this story, we marveled at how little time it took the 4-3 Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association to move into action, especially since time is what the Air Force vet didn’t have. With heat advisories across the 4-state region, the vet’s family needed immediate attention. But when we started in 2013, Ozarks On Two Wheels understood how valuable time can be. Time was something we had and wanted to share.

Our mission has always been community outreach, which is why the 4-3 CVMA is our perfect partner. This year, Ozarks On Two Wheels and Aaron Sachs and Associates joined forces with the 4-3 CVMA to create the second annual Gypsy Tour Poker Run, a 66-mile poker run along parts of historic Route 66.

The 4-3 CVMA are old pros, running several poker runs a year and donating 100 percent of the profits to local veterans. Kelly says the 4-3 CVMA chapter, whose motto is “Veterans Helping Veterans,” raised $17,000 in 2015. Ninety percent goes to individuals and their families as opposed to corporations or non-profits. So, when people go to their poker runs or buy raffle tickets, the 4-3 CVMA puts the money back into community. The 2016 Gypsy Tour Poker Run is no exception. All proceeds from the Gypsy Tour will be given to local vets in need, including their “I Support My Local Veterans” buttons, which will be available in the Motorcycle Village for a minimum $2 donation.

But Kelly insists there’s something equally important, but perhaps not as tangible, CVMA offers the community. The 4-3 chapter is well-known for volunteering, and Kelly says it’s good for the public to see bikers giving back.

We couldn’t agree more. Time and again the 4-3 CVMA has joined Ozarks On Two Wheels to help with Aaron Sachs and Associates’ free helmet giveaways at Safe and Sound, Kidsfest in Jefferson City, and Joplin’s Third Thursday. Watching those guys take a knee and click a helmet buckle under a smiling kid’s chin is quite the sight, the strong willing to bend to the most vulnerable is true honor.

On behalf of Ozarks On Two Wheels and Aaron Sachs and Associates, thank you, CVMA, for giving to southwest Missouri’s veterans at the 2016 Gypsy Tour Poker Run.

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