It’s the fourth travel in as a few years (and as many scooters). And with a most sensible velocity of about 10 miles consistent with hour, it is not a brief one, both. 

Raymond Black is simply recognizable to parents round Washington City and St. George. Many know him because the Vietnam veteran who travels round the town on a scooter decked out in patriotic regalia. But for the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 961, he is so a lot more. 

For the previous few years, Black has packed up his scooter and headed around the nation to lift money and consciousness for veterans. 

“He donates about 99.9 percent back to us,” mentioned VVA Chapter 961 President Dan Greathouse. “He takes just what he needs for gas for his generator and a little bit to eat on. He gets fed. Everybody gives him stuff the whole trip.” 

“I have a hard time saying goodbye to him when he goes on these crazy trips because I worry about him, you know?” he added with fun. 

This yr, Black left Washington City – entire with a police escort – because the solar used to be emerging on May 14. Southern Utah would possibly not be seeing him once more for no less than 3 months. 

“Maybe even more!” Black mentioned. 

The more or less 1,000-mile travel will take him throughout Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado after which again into Utah. And with every passing mile, Black will meet new other folks with whom he’s going to proportion his message. 

Helping veterans and their households

“I have a lot of people stop and talk with me and ask me what I’m doing. That’s where the donations usually come in,” Black mentioned. “All I do is hand out a brochure telling them what I’m doing. I don’t say, ‘Can I have some money?’ … I just hand them a brochure and it’s up to them what they do.” 

The money raised is going right into a fund at VVA Chapter 961 that is used for the whole thing from serving to veterans put meals on the desk to refurbishing motorized wheelchairs.

In reality, the wheelchairs are Greathouse’s forte, and it is a device funded completely from donations. 

The native bankruptcy collects and purchases wheelchairs, walkers and scooters and will get them in working order. They’re then dispersed to vets and their members of the family as wanted.

“If somebody needs one and I don’t have one, I’ll actually go out and buy one for them,” Greathouse mentioned. “All I ask is when they pass away, the chair comes back to me … so I can pass it along to another veteran. Not only a veteran. A veteran’s family member, a senior citizen that needs it that just can’t afford it.”

“Just this last week I collected three and gave away five,” he added.

In addition to get entry to to wheelchairs, groceries, drugs and garments, money is extensively utilized for scholarships.

This yr Chapter 961 gave $150 scholarships to 2 Pine View High School scholars, and $300 to the Dixie High School ROTC program. 

“We do support the ROTC very much,” Black mentioned.

A purpose-driven adventure

“I’m also out there to help veterans I come across, and they haven’t gotten any help from the VA as far as maybe a pension goes or hospital care or anything like this,” Black mentioned. “I try to help them out the best I can with that.” 

He mentioned he is fortunate to be right here within the United States these days. He’s 74 years outdated, and he is dealing with well being issues, however his lifestyles may have been minimize quick a few years in the past.

“I’m always thinking of my Vietnam comrades, especially the ones I’ve lost,” he mentioned, his voice wavering with emotion. “I’m very fortunate to be home right now.”

CLOSEVietnam veteran Raymond Black is raising money on his scooter

Raymond Black, a Vietnam Veteran residing in St. George, drives 1000’s of miles and thru a couple of states on an electrical scooter to deliver consideration to the troops and their carrier Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum & Daily News

As Black slowly makes his means around the Southwest, he needs other folks to keep in mind a couple of issues as they see his scooter cross via, the American flag waving proudly within the wind. 

He, and such a lot of like him, served their nation as a result of their nation requested them to. It won’t had been within the nation’s hottest warfare, however that does not make their movements any much less essential.

“The biggest thing is to just be treated in the way we should be and thanked for what we did,” he mentioned. “We were sent there because our country asked us to. We didn’t go over there because we wanted to. We were asked by our country to serve and do our part in that particular war – a war that was in a way needless. …We were called baby killers. We were spit on. … That’s the biggest reason all of us just kind of hid away for a long time.”

Black has his Chapter 961, although. It’s a spot for him and the opposite Southern Utah veterans – 130 contributors sturdy and rising – to satisfy, have amusing and give a boost to every different.

While Black is hoping the perspective towards Vietnam vets will proceed to modify for the easier, he does have extra extra further request.

“Just don’t run over me when I’m on the road!” 

How to assist

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 961, a 501(c)(three) nonprofit, accepts money and wheelchairs, all of which get advantages vets and their households in the neighborhood. 

Greathouse mentioned the easiest way to donate is to ship a take a look at, written out to Chapter 961 Vietnam Veterans, to 831 Scenic Drive North, Washington City, UT 84780.

For money donations, “Call me and I’ll meet them somewhere and they can give me cash!” Greathouse mentioned with fun. “I’d be more than happy to give them a receipt from our chapter … so they can write it off at the end of the year.” 

Dan Greathouse can also be reached via emailing dgreat49@yahoo.com or calling 435-619-4901.

Or, if you happen to occur upon Raymond Black on his travels, take a brochure and donate at once. 

“He loves doing this,” Greathouse mentioned about Black’s fundraising trips. “He’s 74 years old, and he’s going to keep doing it until he can’t do it anymore.” 

Follow Matthew Jacobson on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, @MatthewJGeek. Email him at mjacobson@thespectrum.com. Call him at 435-674-6234.

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