AP NEWS

Moose donate poker run proceeds to veterans organizations

December 20, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Christmas arrived a bit early for a pair of veterans support organizations, recipients of proceeds from a recent event created to provide assistance to military members past and present.

The Moose Riders of Bullhead City Moose Lodge 1860 presented checks for $1,500 each to the Tri-State Military Moms and the Veterans Resource Team. The money was raised in the last month’s veterans poker run.

“We do three poker runs a year,” said Don Russell, governor of Moose Lodge 1860 and president of the local Moose Riders. “We do one for Comfort Zone Cancer Support, one for needy kids in the area and one for veterans.”

Russell said a committee of Moose Riders discussed where to forward the funds from the veterans run.

“We had a meeting and discussed what we were going to do with the money,” Russell said. “Somebody mentioned the Military Moms, that they were always trying to raise money for their projects.”

Tri-State Military Moms run the military honor banner program for local servicemembers on Highway 95 in Bullhead City — dubbed “Heroes Highway” — and send care packages to active military personnel overseas. They also organize welcome-home and deployment ceremonies, and try to provide a touch of home to Tri-state military members scattered all over the world.

Russell said a second suggestion was the Bullhead City Veterans Resource Team and its Veterans Treatment Court, overseen by the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council of Kingman. Michael Myers, executive vice president for the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council, and Sean Regan, court coordinator for the Bullhead City Veterans Treatment Court, were on hand to receive the donation.

Veterans Treatment Court is a problem-solving court with the objective of serving military veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or recurring disorders, offering a second chance through a coordinated response involving collaboration with the city prosecutor, county attorney, defense counsel, the United States Veterans Administration and local mental health organizations, rather than incarceration.

“We wanted to keep all our money local,” Russell said. “That was our main objective. We were able to do that.”

The veterans poker run had about 100 participants, including 30 members of the local Moose Riders, Russell said. Many of them were on hand Saturday for the check presentations.

“They are all a part of this,” Russell said, adding that there also was a large contingent of riders from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and the Gate Warriors. “We just put out flyers, they showed up. Like they say, if you build it, they will come.”

Sue Trani, treasurer of the Tri-State Military Moms, said the donation will go a long way in helping the organization continue its mission of keeping contact with local military members. The group recently sent off 110 Christmas packages. While many of the items sent to troops — socks, hats, personal hygiene products, fudge and other items — are donated, many are purchased by the Moms with donations and money from fundraisers. Postage is a big expense. And repairs and replacements for the military banners that hang on light poles on Highway 95 is another.

“The wind tends to tear some of them up,” said Trani, accompanied by Air Force veteran and new Military Mom member Amber Moore. “They get blown down, blown away.”

She said the donation received from the Moose Riders will go into the Military Moms’ general fund, where it will be used as a need arises.

“Every penny of these donations go to honor our military,” Trani said. “That’s our purpose.”