A group of local motorcyclists hit the streets Saturday to raise awareness about an issue impacting many veterans in our country: post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The battle hits home for many local veterans, so the American Legion Post #93 Riders in Kenova decided to organize a PTSD Awareness Ride.
“The veterans in our area, and all over the Unites States, are dealing with a problem,” said Brian Vickers, President of the American Legion Post #93 Riders.
At least 80 bikers rallied at the Kenova American Legion before taking off on a 2.5-hour cruise around the Huntington-Wayne area.
“A lot of people with PTSD and a lot of friends I know that have PTSD, they don’t want to talk about it,” said Keith Hatfield, Road Captain for the American Legion Post #93 Riders. “They deny it. They say it’s not really happening, but it’s there. We just need to make them feel like they have a safe place to come talk about it.”
The director of the Huntington Vet Center, Aaron Rayburn, says there are many veterans in our area struggling to overcome PTSD.
“We have a large veteran population,” said Rayburn. “We have a lot of National Guard and Reserves and also returning active-duty members from our recent wars and even as far back as World War II.”
The ride wrapped up at the Huntington Vet Center, to remind local veterans of the resources and people that are ready to help.
“We need to reach each and every veteran to either assist them with the readjustment counseling, or guide them through the VA to receive benefits and medical care, and become part of the community again,” said Rayburn.
All of the proceeds from the PTSD Awareness Ride will go toward helping local homeless veterans, the future Fisher House at the Huntington VA Medical Center, and the Wounded Warrior Project.