June 28, 2012

Manchin, Rockefeller and Rahall Welcome Advocates for Homeless Veterans

Eight West Virginian Bicyclists Completed a Committed Ride from Huntington to Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall today issued the following statements on the six-day, 425-mile ride from Huntington to Washington, D.C. by eight bicyclists advocating for the Homeless Veterans Resource Center in Huntington.

“This was a tough ride through the mountains of West Virginia and into Washington, D.C. – and a committed journey that reflects the sacrifices of those they’re advocating for. I applaud the bicyclists for giving their time and energy to take a stand for homeless veterans, and I applaud Bryan Chambers for his service to our country and continuing to serve his fellow veterans,” Senator Rockefeller said.  “After generations of our military service men and women have protected us against both foreign and domestic dangers, we as a country must respond with unending support.  The Homeless Veterans Resource Center is dedicated to doing just that by serving and caring for those who have served us.  I am thrilled this group of bicyclists devoted this ride to helping our veterans in need.”

“I am looking forward to spending time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with this great group of West Virginians who are biking here to Washington for such an important cause: supporting our homeless veterans,” Senator Manchin said. “The men and women who have served so bravely in the defense of our country deserve the very best in treatment and care, and even one veteran sleeping on the street is one too many. My total commitment has been to helping our veterans in any way we can, whether that is finding veterans a place to live or helping them get a job. I am very proud of the West Virginians who have participated in the Homeless Veterans Ride and their tremendous commitment to raising awareness and funds for the homeless veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. The teamwork shown by these riders is a reminder that we must all work together to achieve VA Secretary Shinseki's goal of eliminating veteran homelessness in West Virginia and across the country.”

“Biking 425 miles in six days for our veterans’ own plight, not only called for a lot of sweat and determination, but shows more heart than  any old Tour de France ever could.  These guys are all true champions.  This journey not only raised needed dollars, but needed attention to making certain our returning veterans don’t fall through the cracks as they try to adjust to civilian life from their honorable military service defending us.  As a Nation, we owe them no less,” said Rep. Rahall (D-WV), who is a senior member of the House Military Veterans Caucus.  “No veteran should be without a roof over their head. In this nation of plenty, where we sleep at night comforted by the sense of safety our Armed Forces provide, homelessness among veterans is a travesty that we must make right.  God Bless the work of all those committed to our veterans.”

The Homeless Veterans Resource Center is a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Huntington serving ten West Virginia counties, including Boone, Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, and Wayne.  The Resource Center assists veterans with legal issues, substance abuse issues, transitional housing, and finding permanent housing and employment.  Bryan Chambers, a Huntington veteran, planned and organized the six-day bike ride.