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july/august 2007

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VVA’s Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund has supported many kinds of charitable efforts that come to the aid of Vietnam veterans and their families all across the country. That includes a unique program in the nation’s 49th state called Veteran Trail Riders of Alaska. Under the direction of Bob Moore, the nonprofit group provides therapeutic rides through the Alaska wilderness to physically and psychologically disabled Vietnam veterans. Moore, who served three tours in Vietnam, is one of the founders of three Alaska VVA chapters—the state’s first, Mat-Su Chapter 891, in Wasilla; Chapter 903 in Palmer; and Chapter 914 in Anchor Point.

Through funds donated by VVAF and other organizations, Moore has built a bunkhouse, barn, and corral for four horses near Wasilla. The facility is used as the staging area for the group’s therapeutic and equestrian programs that take veterans and children with disabilities on horse rides.

The Veteran Trail Riders of Alaska’s most recent charitable endeavor began on July 4: an ambitious, 800-mile wilderness horseback ride from the bunkhouse through spectacular trails up to the Denali Park region, across Talkeetna Mountain ranges, down to Palmer, and returning to Wasilla four to six weeks later. The event is designed to raise funds to send an Alaska delegation of Vietnam veterans to participate in ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington. On the trail ride, the horsemen are carrying a list of the names of Alaska men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The riders will be supplied by air through the efforts of VVA member Maurice Bailey, the president of Chapter 903. Bailey and his co-pilot, Chuck Moore, work in the Veterans Aviation Outreach program, which also has been a recipient of a VVAF grant. The slogan of the ride is VVA’s founding principle: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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