VA employees on 1188-mile motorcycle ride to honor fallen Veterans and to raise awareness of Veteran Suicide.

The 2017 Iron Vet Ride leaves from the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita and ends at the Raymond G. Murphy Medical Center in Albuquerque. Photo from 2016 Iron Vet Ride

Photo: Tara Cisneros

By Circe Olson Woessner

On September 23, 2017, VA employees from the Wichita, KS, Regional Office will begin their 1188-mile ride from Wichita to Albuquerque, NM and back to honor America’s fallen Veterans.

The “Iron Vet Ride” is open to all comers and is being organized by VA employees with the help of the AMVETS Riders Chapter 14, Clovis, NM, Chapter 181, Raymore, MO, and Chapter 36, Wichita, KS.  In Albuquerque, VFW Post 401, American Legion Riders Post 99, Chapter 22, the Raymond G. Murphy Medical Center and the NM Veterans Memorial are planning events for Saturday evening and Sunday morning in support of Iron Vet.

“The Iron Vet Ride is about getting VA, Veterans Service Organizations, and the community working together for a common goal, and to raise awareness about Veteran Suicide. It is a great feeling to be there supporting the families”, says Brett Wells, event organizer and Wichita Regional Office employee.

Originally, the ride honored SGT Kyle B. Osborn and LCPL Joshua Eli Witsman who died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and SFC Travis S. Bachman who was killed by an IED in Iraq. This year’s ride also honors Albuquerque native PO2 Jamie Langfitt.

Christina Camacho, a social worker at the Albuquerque VA says, “The Iron Vet Ride gives us an opportunity to work with community to raise awareness about suicide prevention efforts. We want Veterans to know we are here when they are facing a crisis and will give them the support they need. We’re striving to reach the National goal of getting to 0 deaths that are caused by an act of suicide.”

Cervantes restaurant and Post 401 are hosting a dinner for the riders and community on Saturday evening at the post. Representatives from the VA Medical Center and the Suicide Prevention team will be featured speakers at the dinner.

On Sunday morning, the riders will take part in a brief early morning ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial on Louisiana before heading back East.

For more information about the event, or to learn how you can help, please  contact  Brett Wells at brett.wells@va.gov or Christina Camacho at Christina.Camacho@va.gov .

 

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