Vet­eran biker club shares ca­ma­raderie in val­ley

The Drumheller Mail - - REAL ESTATE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

A fra­ter­nity formed by those who served their coun­try con­tin­ued their ca­ma­raderie, not with im­ple­ments of de­fense and peace­keep­ing but the mo­tor­cy­cle and the open road.

3rd CAV, the Cana­dian Army Vet­eran Mo­tor­cy­cle Unit for the Western Canada re­gion de­scended on the val­ley for its an­nual gath­er­ing. While many rid­ers have been through here be­fore, this was the first time they have hosted their gath­er­ing at Wayne.

“We did Ed­mon­ton last year, and be­fore that Chilli­wack, Van­cou­ver and then Saskatchewan. Every­body takes a turn ev­ery year,” ex­plains Tom McCarl, who helped or­ga­nize the gath­er­ing.

Rid­ers came from across the re­gion from BC to the west to Man­i­toba to the east. More than 100 came out, as well as their sup­port­ers.

McCarl ex­plains that CAV is com­pletely made up of vet­er­ans. While Army is in the ti­tle, mem­ber­ships from all mil­i­tary back­grounds are ac­cepted. Two vet­er­ans founded the or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2003, who met at a char­ity ride. To­day there are more than 8,000 across the coun­try. They are di­vided into three districts; 1st CAV is Cen­tral Canada, 2nd CAV is East­ern Canada and the 3rd CAV is Western Canada. Within each CAV, they are di­vided into units, named after bat­tle hon­ours. The Calgary Unit is Ypres.

McCarl ex­plains char­ity is an im­por­tant as­pect of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Its mission state­ment is “Ride and Have Fun While Help­ing Oth­ers”. The Ypres Unit is a big sup­porter of the Field of Crosses in Calgary.

McCarl ex­plains it goes be­yond ca­ma­raderie and into a spe­cial bond that con­nects many who have served, and are deal­ing with the emo­tional trauma and bat­tle scars.

“We are very fam­ily ori­ented. We have peo­ple that ride with us that have PTSD or emo­tional prob­lems, and as a fam­ily, be­cause we know what it is like. We know what death is, we’ve seen death, we’ve cre­ated death,” said McCarl “We can sit down with these peo­ple and talk to them and ex­plain that when you wear a uni­form, this is your job, this is what we did, and this is what we have seen. We don’t like it but we have to learn to live with it as a group.”

He says it is par­tic­u­larly hard for re­servists, who he says made up 85 per cent of those who served in Afghanistan and Bos­nia, were from the re­serves.

“They come back to a job to go to work and they are screwed up be­cause they have now seen things their bosses don’t know and they can’t han­dle it,” said McCarl.

The gath­er­ing be­gan with a cam­pout Fri­day in Wayne with meet and greet. On Satur­day, there was a Pres­i­dent’s meet­ing as well as biker games, lots of vis­it­ing and sight­see­ing. On Satur­day af­ter­noon, they also held a memo­rial ser­vice for their fallen brethren.

“This place (Last Chance Sa­loon) have been awe­some, they have done ev­ery­thing for us,” said McCarl.

This place (Last Chance Sa­loon) have been awe­some, they have done ev­ery­thing for us.” Tom McCarl CAV or­ga­nizer

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Tom McCarl shares his ex­pe­ri­ences as a mem­ber of 3 CAV, a mo­tor­cy­cle club made up of mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, as they went through the val­ley last week­end.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.