ABOUT THE VET'S CHARITY CHRISTMAS RIDE
The Vet's Christmas Charity Ride was founded in December of 2000 by three men: retired Army Sergeant Major Jim Wertman, the general manager of Carolina Honda; Gene Royer, business owner of All American Heating and Air, and member of South Carolina Gold Wind Riders Association; and Earl Small, Jr, owner of Carolina Honda.
These three men set out on a path to bring Christmas cheer to the hospitalized veterans of Dorn VA Medical Center. That year began the Veterans Christmas Charity Ride and on December 9, 2018 we celebrate our 18th anniversary of the ride.
It was no easy task to convince the personnel at Dorn VA Medical Center that a motorcycle ride would be a good way to bring Christmas to the hospitalized veterans. Dorn VA Medical staffers Priscilla Creamer and Patricia Bradford helped convince the hospital that it would be a wonderful event. Eventually they prevailed, the Hospital collaborated with a Christmas Gift List, and the ride was born.
Local community businesses helped. Local radio and tv media sources promoted the ride. Drop boxes were set up at AlISouth Credit Union branch locations to ensure that bad weather did not stop the Christmas Ride delivery of packages. On a cool December Sunday, 500 bikers brought the first Vets Christmas Motorcycle Charity Ride to Dorn VA veterans. From that very first ride, we knew this was special, both for the veterans, and for the riders. Many hearts were touched that December day, and a yearly tradition was born.
Each year since, there have been more more riders, more sponsors, and of course more donations. Today they include two homeless shelters in the Christmas bounty. One year sleet came, and only 150 bikers showed up; but
the ride went on. Thanks to AllSouth Credit Union and those determined riders, Christmas cheer was delivered to Dorn VA Hospital and the two VA homeless shelters.
In 2004 Carolina Honda moved to their new dealership with a parking lot size of over 5 acres. It was great to get everyone together at the start of the ride. In 2005 local Boy Scouts joined in by serving a pancake and sausage breakfast to the riders for donations. What a great success it turned out to be. Great food for hungry riders, and funds raised for the two local Boy Scout Troops.