H.O.G.s for homes: Bikers support veterans charity

Dec 5, 2018

The Minuteman H.O.G. chapter gathered on Dec. 4 to make a difference. The group was presenting Homes for Our Troops, a Taunton-based charity that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured post 9/11 veterans, with a check for $22,000.

The H.O.G. chapter raised the funds at its fifth annual Ride For Our Troops fundraiser on Sept. 23 — bringing its total contribution to the charity to $72,000.

H.O.G. member Don Legault said the work the group does for charity is heartfelt. “We wouldn’t be here today with the liberties we have if it weren’t for them,” Legault said. “We play a very small part, but it’s very satisfying to be able to contribute to their well being after all their service.”

The group worked hard to find a charity that meant a lot to the members. The Ride for Our Troops fundraiser has grown each year. In 2018, 723 people on 423 bikes participated in the ride, which is also supported by local restaurants and organizations.

“H.O.G. chapters in general do a lot of charity work,” said Claude Gelinas. “It’s not the stuff you see on TV, it’s not the Sons of Anarchy stuff. I think everybody feels a real accomplishment here, and the cause is unbelievable.”

Homes for Our Troops, founded in 2004, has built more than 270 homes in 42 states. The homes have more than 40 major adaptations, including wider halls and doors, roll-under sinks, stoves, counters, and roll-in showers.

The homes are given to the veterans free of charge. Homes for Our Troops builds across the country to make sure veterans can live where they would like to live. The group has built six homes in Massachusetts and will build its first home in Maine in 2020.

The group also supports veterans after their homes are finished. The veterans have gone on to compete in the paralympics, complete college degrees and trade certifications, start small businesses, and work for non-profits.

“It’s not charity,” said Bill Ivey of Homes for Our Troops. “We see our mission is to help the American people repay a debt. These men and women have sacrificed so much defending our freedom and independence.”

Homes for Our Troops is privately funded, and more than 90 cents of each dollar donated goes directly to veterans.

For more information about the Minuteman H.O.G. chapter, go to www.mmhog.org. For more information about Homes For Our Troops, go to www.hfotusa.org.