Participating in this past weekend’s VFW poker run was, from left, Dick Myers, District 22 Jr. Vice Commander; Frank Mills, State Jr. Vice Commander and John Getz, State Commander. (The Daily Herald/Amanda Golden)
Dozens of motorcycles lined the parking lot at the VFW building this past weekend.
The bikers were there to participate in a benefit poker run for homeless veterans, sponsored by the Department of Pennsylvania and Tyrone VFW Post No. 4559.
Poker runs have become a fun way to raise money for various causes. Participants travel over a predesignated route and, at designated stops on the route, draw playing cards. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. Prizes are awarded and part of the fee collected go toward funding the event, while the rest goes to the event\\\’s cause. Specific rules and details vary, depending on the event.
This weekend’s riders left the parking lot at noon for a day riding, along with food, fun and door prizes.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, “About one out of every three in the adult homeless population has served in the armed forces.
“On any given day, as many as 200,000 veterans (male and female) are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year.
“Many other veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.”
However, the hope is to change these statistics and currently there are numerous programs and initiatives specifically designed to help homeless veterans live as self-sufficiently and independently as possible. The VA’s major homeless-specific programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless treatment and assistance services in the country.