Santee military veteran motorcyclists ride to benefit other veterans

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May is Military Appreciation Month, and members of the Santee American Legion Riders Chapter 364 worked to express tangible gratitude to their fellow military veterans on Saturday, May 19, staging the recently chartered group’s first fundraising event, the First Annual Poker Run. The objective was to boost both camaraderie among veterans who ride motorcycles and money available to support worthy causes benefiting military veterans.

The run began at Indian Motorcycle of El Cajon in the morning and concluded at Santee American Legion Post 364 at midday.

May is Military Appreciation Month, and members of the Santee American Legion Riders Chapter 364 worked to express tangible gratitude to their fellow military veterans on Saturday, May 19, staging the recently chartered group’s first fundraising event, the First Annual Poker Run. The objective was to boost both camaraderie among veterans who ride motorcycles and money available to support worthy causes benefiting military veterans.

The run began at Indian Motorcycle of El Cajon in the morning and concluded at Santee American Legion Post 364 at midday.

Wrangler Family Barbecue provided lunch to the riders who participated, coming to East County from throughout Southern California.

During a motorcyclist poker run, riders receive a playing card at destinations along a specific route of travel, with the winning poker hand (or hands) tallied at the final stop on the ride.

ALR Chapter 364 President “Irish,” known in non-Rider life as Rod Slavin, noted that his veterans service organization had hoped to break even on the event, as their initial foray into hosting fundraisers. While riders were still returning with their poker run cards, Slavin said, “This looks like a rip-roaring success.”

Slavin estimated that the proceeds would be well over the event’s expenses.

Each rider on the run paid $25 per ticket, with each passenger charged $5. Rules for this particular poker run offered prizes for High Hand and Low Hand, as well as Chapter Challenges for highest percentage and highest number of members on the ride. Money was also raised through raffle ticket and 50/50 drawing ticket sales.

Representatives from Final Honor, one charitable endeavor slated to receive donations from the event, were in attendance.

Every Monday at Miramar National Cemetery, Final Honor offers a horse-drawn carriage free of charge for military veteran funerals. Porter said that the group’s two horses, Katy and Kandy, transport eight to 12 veteran caskets in a black carriage each Monday.

Slavin stated that another charity under consideration to receive donations from the poker run funds is Paws for Purple Hearts, which provides service dogs to military veterans in need of trained companion animals.

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