When a van that takes veterans to drug and alcohol abuse classes broke down, a local motorcycle club came to the rescue.
The 15-passenger van transports veterans from Veterans Villas, a transitional-housing program at the former Naval Base, to the program at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, said Joe Towles, a case manager with the program. It makes two round trips each weekday.
The 2007 van, with 102,000 miles on it, was rusting and had mechanical problems that were going to cost about $3,500 to fix.
Enter the Charleston Chapter of the Warhorse Brotherhood motorcycle club, a group of mostly veterans whose main goal is to help other veterans. They have supported Veterans Villas in many ways over the years.
On March 23, they held a poker run that raised $8,500, which they donated to the group.
“It was our worst year weather-wise because it was cold and rainy, so we didn’t think we were going to make anything,” said Randy Kent, president and founder of the local club. “But we ended up with our best year yet, moneywise.”
The donation allowed the program to purchase a 2012 van with 12,000 miles that “still smells new,” Towles said.
“The van is a critical part of our program,” he said. “If we did not have that van, the guys would have to ride the bus.”