Brothers Keepers present donation to veterans coalition

Photo by Chelsea McNerney-Martinez Brothers Keepers Motorcycle Club members Jim Clare, Scott Deacon, Matt Cordova (President), Byron Kunugi, Alvin Kunugi, Zack Staggs, Richard Duran, Melissa Shaw, Alfred Mondragon (Vice-President) and Janena Mondragon along with Monte Vista City Councilors and Julie Gomez of Valley-Wide Health Systems present the $5,000 donation raised at the 2019 Thunder in the Valley rally to Richard Nagley of the Veterans Coalition of the San Luis Valley.

MONTE VISTA— At the Aug. 15 Monte Vista City Council meeting the Brothers Keepers Motorcycle Club (BKMC) presented their donation from the second annual Thunder in the Valley Motorcycle Rally to the Veterans Coalition of the San Luis Valley. The rally, which was held June 8, raised $5,000 for the coalition.
BKMC member Scott Deacon thanked council and city staff for their assistance, noting the use of Ski-Hi worked “…wasn’t a hitch with it…” and thanked the many donors and supporters, including the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, the Rio Grande County Tourism Board, Kunugi Farms and “hundreds of smaller donors.” “We are humbled by this….For everything they’ve [veterans] have done for us, this is what we do for them.”
Richard Nagley, representing the Veterans Coalition, pointed out that 10 percent of the San Luis Valley residents are veterans and 99 percent of Valley residents are related to a vet. “Firemen and law enforcement are also our brothers; they know what it means to have your life on the line and we really appreciate the support.” Nagley explained the coalition is a non-profit and the money will go to help veterans with transportation costs to medical appointments in Denver as well as to purchase food and gas cards for homeless veterans and other veterans in need. Nagley also pointed out the donations were doubled from the 2018 rally.
The Veterans Coalition meets the third Wednesday of the month at the San Luis Valley Health Center (old Grizzly Inn) in Alamosa, except for August when they will be hosting a women’s-only meeting on the fourth Wednesday of August at the same location.
Nagley also took an opportunity to point out the success of the Blue Water Navy Veterans bill recently passed through Congress and signed by President Trump which finally recognizes the health effects of Agent Orange on veterans who were exposed to the dangerous chemical in Vietnam and allows the VA to recognize and treat them for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, their children’s potential birth defects and other related health conditions. Nagley pointed out this will potentially help many veterans in the Valley from several different branches who can show they were on specific ships on specific dates.

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