GREAT FALLS - The Patriot Guard of Montana protects veterans and their families and on Saturday, the non-profit donated $2,100 to the Grace Home Veterans Center in Great Falls.
“In the Grace Home, it's a great transition area for veterans," shared US Air Force veteran and Assistant Captain for the Patriot Guard of Montana Rick English. “They come back and have post-traumatic stress syndrome. They can go to those places and get counseling and be around other veterans that have suffered the same and slowly rebuild themselves back into society.”
The day started with a motorcycle flag line through Great Falls, reaching their destination of the rehab center. It was a gathering of strangers among the commonality of supporting those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of putting their life on the line in duty.
English calls it, “a brotherhood.”
Staff of the Grace Home were in attendance to accept the check and memorabilia, English donated to the home.
The additional donations included a shadow box encasing the 13 folds of the United States flag and other military trinkets that add value to what the center stands for.
Retired U.S. Army Ranger Mark Daniels, a resident at the center was once homeless. But with the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Grace Home, he has stability in his life.
“I didn't have a whole lot of money when I came in here and stuff. And to get these donations and get the clothing that I've had to help me, and stuff means a lot. And because of that, it makes me want to do more things in my community and help other people out, too.”
State Captain of the Patriot Guard of Montana Jim Cherney presented the check.
“We would love to present you with this check and this coin because you guys need to keep your lights on and keep running and keep operations. So, it's our honor that this falls under our health program. And we would like to present you with this.”
The money raised came from a yearly event the Guard holds. They pick one recipient based on its values that follow the group's values. To support fallen soldiers’ families, veteran affairs, and the lives of first responders.
“If we can help them with what they're doing for these veterans, you know, absolutely. It's well worth it. It just...it makes you feel good," said Cherney, who is a civilian who wants to support those who served.
Grace Home House Manager Ray Parker — who has been a philanthropist all his life — explained that he has a heart for people.
“These guys served our country. What shouldn't we do for them? We should do everything in our power to help them to be a productive human being outside in the world.”
During the summer the Patriot Guard of Montana travels on their motorcycles bearing the organization's flag and the red, white, and blue. In Winters, they travel in convoys of trucks.
English wanted to share an additional message to those on the road this year amid the rising number of motorcycle accidents and deaths in Montana.
“There’s a lot of bikers out on the streets. Please, keep an eye out for them.”