MONROE, La. – “Vets Helping Vets” is the motto that the Louisiana Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 65 (CVMA 6-5) has adopted, but it is so much more than words you recite. Their motto is ingrained into the souls of these service-oriented men and women who continue to give back to those who’ve served out country.
For this story, all of the CVMA 6-5 group members chose to use their ‘road names’ as those are the names that the veterans they serve have come to know and love them by.
“It didn’t take us long to realize that this is where we needed to be,” says Gunner.
Their mission at the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Northeast Louisiana Veterans Home (NELVH) started approximately two years ago with church services and the refurbishing of motorized wheelchairs for residents of the Monroe, La., home.
“In my opinion, our veterans don’t get the love and support that is owed to them,” says ‘Cookie’ when asked why she’s so passionate about this mission. “We are here to show them respect and the love of family year round and it’s overwhelming to see the growth and change in them because of that.”
The CVMA is an association of combat veterans from all branches of the U. S. Armed Forces who ride motorcycles as a hobby. Their mission now is to support and defend those who have defended our country and our freedoms. Their focus is to help veteran care facilities provide a warm meal, clothing, shelter, and guidance, or simply to say “Thank You” and “Welcome Home.”
“We enjoy being a family here for someone who doesn’t have any,” says Gunner about one of the poignant parts of their mission.
The Louisiana CVMA 6-5 have 45 total members that were all required to have a motorcycle in order to join. But, to be deemed a full member, one must have served in combat operations. Veterans can also join as support members and their spouses as auxiliary members.
“We are a group of combat veterans that likes to ride our bikes as a hobby, but we also come together for the good of our communities,” says Gunner.
“We accomplish more together,” says Gunner, and the group has accomplished a lot with their consistent volunteerism and the unique mission of their ministry-oriented chapter.
Louisiana CVMA 6-5 has also helped install approximately 10-12 wheelchair ramps for veterans in need in the 100-mile radius from their home base.
“This is a good way for our younger generation to learn about being of service,” says Roper.
“We got treated different when we got back,” Roper reminisces. “A lot of times you don’t realize that until you speak to someone else who went through it.”
“To just have someone sit down, talk, and listen to you” Roper says matters to veterans. “And then to have them understand what you’ve been through, it makes all the difference.”
“The CVMA 6-5 bring cohesion between the different groups of volunteers,” says Padre who’s seen an increase in Sunday service attendance since this group got involved with the NELVH. He is also grateful to them for their fundraising efforts that led to the chapel expansion the residents now enjoy.
“We want to help and support them,” says Rooster. “We love them. It’s why we’re here.”
To learn more about the CVMA, please visit: Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.