Team Veteran Voice joins Riding for Heroes

Staff photo by Mary Kemper Veteran Voice publisher Ted Wilson, left, and information technology consultant Richard Ramos sport Veteran Voice team shirts as they get ready to start on the 105-mile route at Sunday’s Riding for Heroes event.

Staff photo by Mary Kemper
Veteran Voice publisher Ted Wilson, left, and information technology consultant Richard Ramos sport Veteran Voice team shirts as they get ready to start on the 105-mile route at Sunday’s Riding for Heroes event.

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
A foggy morning in Palm City didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. The fourth annual Riding for Heroes had the largest turnout ever. It was on Sunday, March 22, and the six-member Team Veteran Voice made its inaugural appearance at the cycling event.
“I think it ended up a little over 200 (riders),” John Goings, president of the Treasure Coast Cycling Association, said. “It takes about five years to build (annual cycling events) up.”
The association co-sponsors Riding for Heroes with Palm City’s Lance Cpl. Justin J. Wilson (U.S. Marines) Memorial Foundation, Justin’s Wings. The ride commemorates fallen service members and honors veterans. Numerous riders show up sporting military- and patriotic-themed jerseys.
Army veteran Jose Cordeno, Port St. Lucie, was at the ride in a U.S.M.C. jersey. He wore it to honor Lance Cpl. Wilson, in addition to honoring his brother who was a Marine. Cordeno, who’s 78, was riding more than 100 miles that morning.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
On the Veteran Voice cycling team were publishing partners Ted Wilson — no relation to Justin Wilson — and Sharon Elkins, along with their spouses, Linda Wilson and Vietnam veteran Ted Elkins, Richard Ramos, and me. Ted Wilson and Ramos went the longest route, 105 miles. The rest of us did the shortest, 40. Other routes were 60 and 80 miles.
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Looking for younger vets

Photo by Patrick McCallister  Commander Chuck Greene stands next to the cornerstone at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4194, Stuart on St. Patrick’s Day. World War II vets formed the post in 1945, and dedicated its hall the year President Gerald Ford announced the end of the Vietnam War. Greene, who’s 46, is young by veteran service organization standards. He’s trying to muster an even younger generation of veterans to shed images of the VFW being a place for World War II to Vietnam veterans.

Photo by Patrick McCallister
Commander Chuck Greene stands next to the cornerstone at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4194, Stuart on St. Patrick’s Day. World War II vets formed the post in 1945, and dedicated its hall the year President Gerald Ford announced the end of the Vietnam War. Greene, who’s 46, is young by veteran service organization standards. He’s trying to muster an even younger generation of veterans to shed images of the VFW being a place for World War II to Vietnam veterans.

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
Chuck Greene is 46 years old. Anyone who spends time around veterans organizations knows that means the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4194, Stuart, is often the youngest guy in the room. He aims to become middle-aged at the post.
“We need younger vets,” he said.
Nationally, the VFW is singing the same song. Late last year, John Stroud, national commander, wrote a blunt letter to the organization’s 7,700 posts.
“I am extremely disturbed by the recurring reports from the field as well as the media’s portrayal of the VFW as an organization that is comprised of old and out of touch veterans who would rather drink in a dimly lit canteen than open their doors to our younger veterans,” he wrote. Stroud went onto say, “The fact remains that the stereotypical, dingy, dark and smoke filled VFW Post and canteen do exist, but they have no benefit to our organization, provide no aid to our mission nor to the veterans we strive to help and serve.”
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