ELKO — An army of motorcycles roared through Elko on its way to Washington, D.C. Wednesday evening.
The National Veterans Awareness Organization were participating in its annual “Ride to the Wall,” a 10-day event that spans across the country.
Dozens of veterans will ride to the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while stopping at different locations to promote awareness and show support for the military.
“Each day we stop at veterans’ homes and hospitals and thank them for their service,” said Jerry Conner, NVAO president and national coordinator of the Ride. “We also participate in memorial services along the way and stop in schools to speak to students about service to the country, to honor and respect veterans, and to impart the importance of patriotism.”
The NVAO collected several bikers from other veteran organizations along the way to Elko, where they stopped for a barbecue dinner at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2350.
Representatives from the local POW/MIA chapter, American Legion Post No. 7, and the Department of Veterans of Affairs were also present at the dinner.
The Ride had accumulated approximately 50 riders by the time the group reached Elko, Conner said.
Riders come and go, but “we’ll probably have about 50 or so riders who are going all the way,” he said. “As we go along, we’ll pick up more and more people who will go to the Wall with us.”
Conner said the end-goals of the journey were to thank veterans, to help civilians respect veterans, and to make sure local, state, and national governments understand the importance of our veterans.
“I would hope people would take it upon themselves to talk to a vet and just say, ‘thanks,’” he said. “Just an hour of your time would mean a lot to us.”