In honor of U.S. troops past and present, more than 200 people joined at the Vincent Hill Restaurant in Acton Saturday morning for the ninth annual Hogs & Horses Ride For Our Troops Charity Motorcycle and Horseback Trail Ride Poker Run.
Hogs & Horses is a nonprofit corporation and its goal is to raise awareness, raise money, show our support and respect for our troops and have a great time while doing it, according to officials.
The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Antelope Valley Veteran’s Outreach through The Grace Resource Center.
The funds will provide food, clothing, medical care, counseling, job placement, and more for our men and women who are in need of these basic services, after returning from their service.
“(The Grace Resource Center) does everything we can to minister to them and provide what they need… We have one gentleman we work with now, we’re helping him have supervised visits to his son or he wouldn’t be able to see his son,” said Steve Baker, the executive director of Grace Resource Center in Lancaster, “(This event) gives me the goosies, I’ve been here every year that we have been apart of it. It just makes my heart happy.”
Baker has been involved with the event for approximately 6 years.
Baker is a Navy veteran himself, serving in the early 70’s, “About 39 percent of homeless men are veterans… We have made it a point that we want to do as much as we can to help veterans increase their personal income, get counselling if they need it, find housing and be healthy.”
“That one statistic of 39 percent of (male veterans) being homeless is sad enough, but the other statistic is that we are losing 22 veterans a day across the country to suicide. They can’t handle the pressure of post-traumatic stress and the re-entry back into the real world after being in the war,” said Baker. “Some of those are newer vets, but we still have Vietnam vets like myself who are still really struggling with what they went through.”
In the past, Hogs & Horses has raised funds for The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
Hogs & Horses was originally organized when some long time Acton residents started talking about finding a way to show their appreciation and respect for the men and women who volunteer to serve in our country’s armed forces, according to officials.
The idea developed into the “Hogs & Horses” ride.
This year’s ride covered approximately 114 miles and went from the Vincent Hill Restaurant in Acton to Cal Veterans Affair to Veterans Post #311 to Malcom’s Steakhouse to Mexico Lindo Restaurant and finished back at the Vincent Hill Restaurant in Acton.
Following the Poker Run, all riders were invited to join for a barbeque lunch. There were auctions, raffles, vendors, and live entertainment provided by Runaway Train and The Acton All Stars.
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