After participating in a joint poker run on the Western Slope, the American Legion Riders from Post 73 and Post 24 and the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association Chapter 3-8 presented the Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans with a check for $1,550 on Thursday.

All $1,550 will go to the Warrior Resource Center.

The poker run took place on June 13 with 60 bikes supporting the effort. Groups from as far as Colorado Springs participated.

“The purpose of this run is to support one of the finest organizations in this town that provides a safe and secure environment for veterans who feel like they don’t belong anywhere else,” said John Boughton, president of American Legion Post 73. “The Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans is paramount in that part. Everyone is welcome.”

The riders made stops at Desperado gas station in Crawford, Zack's BBQ in Hotchkiss, and TJ Cycle & Off Road in Delta. Boughton thanked them for providing the stops on the poker run.

Boughton said to have that many bikes, including those from other areas, supporting an organization that’s not even in their town is “huge,” and the amount of support was “overwhelming.”

“This (resource center) walks the talk,” Boughton said. “This door’s open. When somebody comes in there, and they need help, they’re going to help you out and make you feel welcome here.”

Along with the support from the poker run, several personal donations helped the cause reach the amount it did. Montrose Forest Products, a stud mill, issued a donation to help raise the donation pot. Members of Combat Vets and the Legion Riders also pitched in, which helped hand out prize money during the poker run.

“That’s how passionate we were. We knew we had to make this happen. We were struggling on how to come up with money. So, everyone reached into their own pockets,” Boughton said.

Sheldon Smith, commander of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association, added the community has supported the organization for several years. Understanding budgets are tight due to the pandemic, members were hesitant to ask for donations.

“We support the community, too, just as the community supports us,” Smith said.

Mike Trickey, executive director of Welcome Home Alliance For Veterans spoke to the importance of the resource center and the impact the poker run had.

“The support we get from not only the American Legion and other service organizations, goes a long way to help us complete our mission of supporting veterans,” Trickey said. “The outpouring of support like this is something that continues to be great for our programs and services.

“We thank the American Legion Riders, Combat Vets for their generous time and energy that went into this.”

Events like a poker run help the resource center with the number of resources it has to help veterans. PTSD support, counseling, and veteran service officers are other resources veterans can take advantage of at the center.

The Warrior Resource Center is currently available by appointment only and can be reached at 970-765-2210.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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