Combat Veterans raise awareness through charity events Published July 24, 2023 By Staff Sgt Jake Jacobsen 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Motorcyclists cruising the streets are a common sight in the Black Hills and on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, but a local Chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) have been dedicating themselves to much more than just riding the scenic areas.The CVMA is a non-profit association of military founded in 2001, dedicated to helping veterans through sponsoring and participating in motorcycle-related charity events each year.“We are an Association of Combat Veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces who ride motorcycles as a hobby,” said Joe Kern, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron real property specialist. “Our unofficial motto is ‘vets helping vets’ and our mission is to support those who have defended our country and our freedoms.”The individuals of CVMA are comprised of full members, people with verified combat service, and support members, those who have non-combat military service and have a strong dedication to helping veterans. The association has members from all 50 states and numerous countries abroad, including combat areas.“Our local Chapter 30-1 began in 2008 and has grown to around 70 members now,” said Chet Weymouth, 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron installation deployment officer. “When you get out of the military, you lose that sense of camaraderie. Thankfully, the association is very much like the military in the sense that you know you have brothers and sisters who have your back.”In total, the CVMA has donated more than 100,000 in the last 10 years to multiple organizations like Homes for Heroes, Boots on the Ground, South Dakota Veterans Home and many more.To continue their mission of supporting veterans, the association is hosting an annual poker run in Rapid City 29 July, 2023, where they will block off 7th Street downtown at approximately 5 p.m. to host bands, food vendors and beverages. Proceeds will be given to the Warhorse Liberation who help veterans, women, and horses with trauma to achieve goals and overcome their struggles.The family-friendly event is free and open to all, no motorcycle required to join the festivities in downtown Rapid City.“The nice thing is we determine where our money goes,” said Kern. “We don’t have to send it up to a corporate headquarters or anything like that. We are volunteers who determined years ago that all the money we raise will go to veteran organizations within the Black Hills.” Weymouth encourages local individuals curious about the association to attend a chapter meeting to see if the CVMA is right for them. The CVMA also has a national website for new members looking to join and gives additional information on chapters within your local area.For more information or to learn how to join the association, visit https://www.combatvet.us.