More than $4,000 was raised by the Lynn Hahn Lighted Boat Parade this year, with the funds going to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (Stockton Chapter 33.2) Boots On The Ground program.
On Saturday, December 21, members of the CVMA took supplies, food, and gifts to homeless veterans in Stockton. Accompanying them were the Director of Dignity’s Alcove, a recovery home for veterans as well as a veteran who is in the program. Their hope was to convince the veterans living on the streets to come into the Alcove and begin the recovery process.
But while this story began with the joy and lights of the Christmas season, it does not end with warmth and cheer. The reality is much harsher. Veterans who live in the rough (along with many others who are not veterans) are battling demons of their past, many times unwilling or unable to transition back into what we consider “normal” life.
The money you and others gave is for a noble and good cause…and it is because of men like MadDog, Loki, Howie, and other members of CVMA and their long-term commitment that some homeless veterans may find peace and a home eventually. But the battle that began when both the CVMA and homeless veterans were serving our country continues. This time on our very own streets.
Many people are upset or angry or can’t understand some of the reasons for homelessness. In this story we focused specifically on our homeless veteran population. CVMA does not offer assistance until they are certain the person they are helping is a true US military veteran. Below are some of the steps they take to ensure this. These are the answers given to us by the Commander Ryan Casperson of CVMA Local 33-2/Stockton Chapter. Only real combat veterans can use step one since it requires intrinsic knowledge of their lifestyle in the field.
“1) Ask military based questions. Job series. Duty stations. Units, Battalions, Brigades. (Depending on how fluently they speak our “lingo” and by answering the questions correctly, is how we go about first hand vetting.
2) Before any help can be administered, we take their private information, submit to a VA Representative who will instantaneously confirm or deny the Veterans service.”
— Commander Ryan Casperson of CVMA Local 33-2/Stockton Chapter.
I hope this clarifies the integrity of their program. These are dedicated men who care deeply about their fellow veterans who need help. They do not tolerate Stolen Valor, but they do recognize true valor…even in those broken men living on the streets.
Cyndy Green has been intrigued by news since she got a toy printing press as a six year old. She switched to visual story telling at the age of 12 with her first still camera and moved to broadcasting after an internship in 1974. After 28 years in broadcast news and another 8 teaching broadcasting, she still can’t live without a camera in hand and an editing computer nearby, so in retirement she continues creating visual stories.