‘Thank a Veteran Ride’ raises nearly $11,000 for military community

Hundreds of bikers made a stop at 507 Taproom in Yelm


Yelm was revved up on Saturday, May 11, as over 250 motorcycles cruised to 507 Taproom & Filling Station West for the “Thank a Veteran Ride” to raise money for the veteran community.

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), along with other motorcycle associations, raised close to $11,000 in a single afternoon toward two veteran support organizations.

The event supports A Hero’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that helps children who lost a parent while in service, and the American Lake Community Living Center, an assisted living center for veterans in Lakewood. The 507 Taproom was the fourth of five stops on the ride, which also included Tacoma, Kapowsin, Elbe and Olympia.

Will Warren, public relations officer for the CVMA 11-4 chapter, said the bikers have hosted this event since the chapter was formed over a decade ago.

“Every dime that we get goes back into the veterans community. We try to be net zero at the end of the year,” he said.

The chapter has a valid gambling license, and it raises money for the event via raffle tickets. One raffle ticket could be purchased to win a $500 Visa gift card and another for a chance at a $250 value meat pack from Stewart’s Meats. Another way the event raised money was through donations at the starting point, and independent riders who wished to ride with the group could pay a registration fee of $15 and receive a poker card with which they could win money.

Warren, who served 13 years in the U.S. Army during the Iraq war, said he loves how the CVMA is a group of veterans that were “specifically designed to help veterans in need.”

“It means the world to me that we can put this type of stuff on and that we can give back to the veteran community. It’s a feeling that’s completely indescribable,” he said. “Some people frown upon it because it’s a bunch of people on motorcycles. Some people are happy about it. That’s not our prerogative. Our prerogative as a charitable organization for veterans is to raise money and give back to the veterans. That’s all it is.”

He added that the bond between members of the chapter, as well as with other members of the military in general, is a special connection. At the 507 Taproom, dozens of veteran bikers introduced each other and chatted over a beer and burger about their experiences in the military.

“The reason why people join the CVMA specifically is because they are veterans and they crave that connection. The cool thing about us is that to be a member, you need to have been a veteran and served in a combat theater of operations, so while we were all in different units, different branches, different experiences, we all shared the same thing at one point in our career or another.”

To learn more about the CVMA, visit https://www.combatvet.us/.