Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poker Run 2011

Poker Run 2011 began the day before with a visit to the hospital to meet the volunteers, staff and some of the patients who benefit from the money raised each year by the Vietnam Vet Poker Run. 

Tayla jumped on the back of the bike whilst visiting
 her Aunt on Friday at Canberra Hospital.
 Image by Susan Gordon-Brown.

Canberra Doctors and Medics met with Vietnam Vets
Terry, Dimples, Mike and Agent on Friday
at Canberra Hospital. Image by Susan Gordon-Brown.

Taking some time later that day to visit the Vietnam Memorial on Memorial Drive in Canberra gave Poker Run organisers and Vietnam Vets Agent, Dimples and Terry a moment to reflect upon the days from 1962-1975 and remember those who are no longer here.

Agent, Dimples and Terry at the Vietnam Memorial.

Dimples, Agent and Terry inside the 
Vietnam Memorial.

Terry, Agent and Dimples – although a history apart,
they are lifelong friends. Image by Susan Gordon-Brown.

Gathering at 9am on the overcast Saturday morning, around 150 enthusiastic supporters and friends of VVMC Federal arrived and registered. The event was lead by Terry with the patched veterans riding behind. A range of ages from those in their 70's to some as young as 10 participated and helped raise awareness of Vietnam Vets and money for charity. A number of raffles were held over the 200km course with all ticket sales going towards Canberra and Cooma Hospitals.

Duncan, a new recruit to the VVMC Federal,
 joined the chapter in memory of his
grandfather who fought in WWII.

Image by Susan Gordon-Brown.

The girls getting ready to ride on Saturday.

Reflection of past times. Image by Susan Gordon-Brown.

Photographer Susan Gordon-Brown with her ride for the day.

Kiwi and Colin check the next leg of the road. 

Riding into Cooma – 150 bikes snake across the 
Monaro Plains into the town.

Welcomed to Cooma by Mayor Dean Lynch. 

Arriving into Cooma at the end of the Poker Run, Mayor Dean Lynch met the Vietnam Vets to welcome them to the town and thank them for their contribution to the hospitals. After the formalities, VVMC Federal and its supporters retired to the Aussie Hotel for an evening of celebrations.

The VVMC Federal, Poker Run 2011. 

Thank you to all those who rode, provided back-up vehicles and support both on the day and in the lead-up to the event. A special thank you to the townships of Bredbo, Cooma, Berridale, Jindabyne and Dalgety for hosting the event and providing a welcoming and supportive environment to 150 blokes and a few girls.

VVMC Federal raised around $12 000 to support the purchase of equipment for Canberra and Cooma Hospitals.

Monday, October 31, 2011

To hear our voices

Time is ticking along and our stories can get lost in the everyday lives we live. Our friends might remember, our family and our neighbours but the others don't. To hear our voices is to record who we really are; the sounds, the laughter, and the thoughts. 

Over a windy day with the Vietnam Vets MC Club, I aimed to capture a moment – with the sounds of the bikes in the background, some cheer and good times. Here I have tried to do that – 8 old blokes who share a common past and a life together now. Chillie Bob, Peter, Agent, Danny, Mike, Terry, David and Dimples speak of those days back in 1962-1975 when so many no longer have a voice to be heard.

Please take this brief video as my gift, as imperfect as it is, and my many thanks for sharing your day with me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Six days from now....

In six days the bikes will be primed and polished, fuel tanks filled, and kickstands pushed back as 200 Harley's head down the Monaro highway with one thing on their mind - to raise money for Canberra and Cooma hospitals.

Embracing a love of riding with a harnessed community spirt, this group of blokes (VVMC Federal) will ride the annual 200km poker run through some of Australia's most breathtaking countryside - the mountainous and rugged Snowy Mountains and the wide openness of the Monaro Plains. Rolling into Cooma at 4pm the riders will be welcomed by Mayor Dean Lynch in recognition of their contribution to the community.

The VVMC Federal chapter aims to raise $10 000 for Canberra and Cooma Hospitals at Saturday's event.

Renown contemporary Australia photographer Susan Gordon Brown and public relations expert Jessica Purbrick-Herbst will be tracking the event from the back of a Harley - stay tuned for images and stories ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Raising money & awareness - ordinary men take to the road

These aren't ordinary blokes but they are our neighbours, our friends, our carers. They are also a group of men who work for others - during their annual pilgrimage from Canberra, through the snowy mountains and Cooma - by raising money for Canberra and Cooma hospitals.

What brings this group together is their joint experiences in the 1960's - fighting a war which was unpopular, a war which divided a generation of Australian's - a war that has remained in the spirit of these gallant men.

For 10 years this group of Vietnam Veterans has gathered over 200 bike loving mates to try their luck at poker over a course of 200km through some of Australia's most mountainous and breathtaking country. Hosting a team of events in each stopover, President Ron (Dimples) Sheargold hopes to add to last years fundraising acheivements and reach the goal of contributing $80 000 for hospital equipment and resources since the group began its poker run charity events.

"The hard work carried out by the members will see us able to purchase a Blanket Warmer for the Emergency Department at The Canberra Hospital (TCH) and contribute to a valuable project at the Cooma Hospital", said Dimples.

"Everything we do is geared to raising funds for these two institutions, which is a labour of love rather than a chore".

The Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club means more than raising money. It is a Club which allows shared experiences to be acknowledged.

"The Club does help - we can talk about our experiences if we need too - people understand the problems and are down to earth in their approach", said Vice president Mick Wilson. "I can be myself and do some work for charity. I get a buzz from helping people".

Traditionally a male experience, the VVMC has turned the poker run charity event into a family day, bringing along partners and children to share the experiences of being on the road.

As Mick says, "whilst we are still pretty much about the boys, the last two years has seen the Poker Run become more of a family event with everyone getting involved".

Full details of the VVMC poker run on 29 October 2011 and the charities it supports can be found at vvmcfederal.com.au