ELKO — A group of Elko residents, composed mostly of veterans and their loved ones, gathered in a room at Great Basin College Friday evening with a solitary mission in mind: Establish a local branch of POW/MIA.
POW/MIA is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to accounting for troops listed as prisoners of war or missing in action in every American conflict since World War I. The association wants to enhance public awareness of such men and women and to contribute funds to the National League of POW/MIA Families and various other charities.
Last week’s meeting was organized by Les Brown, who was elected as the local group’s C.O. (commanding officer) before the night was through.
Joining him on the fledgling board are X.O. (executive officer) Ron “Vito” Daronche, Sergeant at Arms Tim Stevens, Assistant Sergeant at Arms Gary Hilton, and Secretary/Treasurer Kat Hearon. Dayle Everts will handle public relations and will be assisted by Jennifer Shrider.
Brown advised new members the group is guided and monitored by the National League of Families POW/MIA in Washington, D.C., to “ensure we maintain our nonprofit status and reflect the highest possible standards in the organization.”
Locally, an annual POW/MIA Awareness Rally and Motorcycle Rodeo will be held as a fund-raiser.
Like all new organizations, members are encouraged to join and attend meetings. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Great Basin College Community Center, next to the gymnasium.
The following are the requirements, as explained by Brown.
- You must believe in the cause to bring home our missing in action brothers from previous conflicts;
- You must display a POW/MIA patch on your vest;
- There are no dues, and lifetime memberships are available;
- You must be willing to volunteer your time year-round if you live in the Elko area; and
- You must remain aware of veteran issues.
Brown and many of the group’s members ride motorcycles, but he emphasized it is not a motorcycle club and owning a motorcycle is not mandatory. He did say, however, that the group will ride from time to time and all bikers who are members are welcome, provided the motorcycle is at least 650cc and road worthy.
“We hope you will wear your patch proudly knowing what it stands for,” he said. “You must be aware of the fight to recover all POW/MIAs and you must not dishonor the patch by improper behavior in public.”
Many who attended last week’s meeting have served in the military — and have children serving in current conflicts.
For more information, call Brown at 397-1492 or 738-0416. If he’s not available contact Daronche at 738-9053; Stevens at (775) 741-3435; or Shrider at 397-2734.