KEYSTONE, S.D. — Five stops, one mission – honoring and supporting our veterans. Saturday, bikers attended a veterans poker ride through the Black Hills registering to win prizes, with proceeds going towards our service men and women.
The event is a first for Keystone. Riders started their journey in Sturgis, at Harley-Davidson, with stops at the Sugar Shack, Chute Roosters Restaurant, Wolf Camp RV and Cafe and ending in Keystone.
The funds from the poker run event will go towards Veterans Helping Hands – a self-sustaining non-profit working to provide labor jobs and training to veterans suffering from post traumatic stress (P.T.S.D.) in the Black Hills.
“We see this as being something that is needed in our area because we have so many homeless and so many of them are veterans,” said Robin Pladson, Director of Keystone Chamber of Commerce. “It helps them find a way to make a living in the world which gives them a chance to build their own house, learn a trade whether it’s construction, plumbing or electrician and then just moves them in and lets them know that people care about them.”
The fundraiser goal for Veterans Helping Hands is to raise $30,000, to go towards providing tools and transportation to veterans who will be participating in building an actual home to prove the possibilities through this group.
“This is possibly the way that we can break that cycle – get these guys job skills,” said Dave Gates, President of Veterans Helping Hands project. “We have contractors waiting to hire these guys as soon as they graduate and get out of the drug and alcohol rehab program.”
Following the ride through the hills was a silent auction with live music performed at the Grapes and Grinds Coffee and Wine bar. The night ended with a light display at Mt. Rushmore National Monument.
It’s estimated 55 bikers were in attendance, but the group came just shy of their fundraising goal.