VA employees on 1188-mile motorcycle ride to honor fallen Veterans and to raise awareness of Veteran Suicide.Posted: September 4, 2017
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.
A year ago today, the Museum of the American Military Family opened its doors in the village Tijeras, NM (Right next to Molly’s Bar). What a year it’s been! We’ve hosted nearly 900 visitors, and have hosted movies, book discussion groups and music events. We’ve opened our archives to researchers and have hosted numerous Naturalization ceremonies. We dedicated our Memorial to Military Families…This fall, we will publish two more anthologies: “War Child: Lessons Learned Growing Up in War”, and “SHOUT: Sharing our Truth”. We will open two new exhibits: “Inside Out” and “Host Nation Hospitality”. We will have our cookbook “Homefront Hearth” ready for the new exhibit.
We could not have done it without you—and we cannot continue without your support—it truly takes a village to create our Museum, dedicated to America’s Military Families.
If you haven’t already, please like us on Facebook, visit our website, check out our blogs and podcasts…Share our info with your friends and alum groups…
If you like what you see, please consider sending us a story, becoming a member or sending in a tax-free donation…every little bit helps preserve the history of the countless men, women and children who serve alongside those who serve….
On July 9, 2017, the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center (MAMF) will have been in its current location on Route 66 for one year. Open on weekends and by appointment, 882 people have visited us. Our small all-volunteer board works hard to make our museum a relevant and welcoming presence, locally and online.
Since last July, MAMF has:
- Hosted a monthly “Mid-Month Movie” series
- Created and exhibited “GI Jokes: a Somewhat Light-Hearted Look at Military Life (now permanently on display at MAMF)
- Published our first anthology “From the Front Lines to the HomeFront: New Mexicans Reflect on War”
- Hosted numerous reading and discussion groups
- Conducted transformative papermaking workshops (Fatigues to Flags) for women veterans
- Sponsored and coordinated events for the New Mexico Midway Route leg of Run For the Wall motorcycle event
- Hosted 3 Naturalization ceremonies
- Built and dedicated a Memorial to Military Families, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico
What does the rest of the year look like?
- We are wrapping up our call for your stories for our two anthologies, “SHOUT: Sharing our Truth” and “War Child: Lessons Learned Growing Up in War” as well as our cookbook. (These will be published in October and November 2017)
- Our fifth exhibit, “Inside Out” will open in October 2017
- We are creating our sixth exhibit, “Host Nation Hospitality” which will open some time in December
We have done this through memberships, some arts and humanities grants and through donations from regular folks who want to help us continue to preserve and share our unique culture…
Please get involved!
- Share our museum Facebook page with your friends and family, visit our website and check out our many blogs, podcasts and other social media.
- Send us a favorite written memory to share on our blogs and preserve in our special collection library
- Become a member, or donate to our memorial fund.
- If you are cleaning out your attic or garage and you come across military family memorabilia you no long want—please consider donating it to MAMF.
We thank you all for your support of our very special museum…It’s been a wonderful year!
WE ARE STILL SEEKING SUBMISSIONS FOR:
***HOME FRONT HEARTH: Recipes from Military Families around the World
This cookbook will be published in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibit, Host Nation Hospitality. Seeking recipes and stories to go with them, or food-related stories. Deadline: June 30, 2017. Recipes/Stories should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
***WAR CHILD: Lessons Learned From Growing Up In War
Looking for first-hand stories from all perspectives—service members who were teenagers while deployed into combat, adults who, as children, grew up in a war zone, or children who experienced a parent or sibling serving in war. Submissions can be about the recent campaigns, Vietnam, the Korean War era or World War II—and conflicts in between. All pieces should be from a child’s perspective and, if applicable, include a reflection or lesson learned from the experience. We especially would like to include stories from children and young adults whose parents are currently serving. Deadline June 30, 2017
To submit a story, please e-mail Writer-in-Residence Paul Zolbrod at email@example.com.
***SHOUT! Sharing our Truth: An Anthology of Writings by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services
Seeking first-hand experiences—good, bad, and in between—as an LGBT Veteran or family member, during and/or after military service. Our goal is to create a book that tells parts of your story that which will help others who live, or want to understand, the LGBT military family experience. Stories should reflect military experiences and/or family life.
Deadline June 30, 2017. Send submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org .