by Dennis Anderson, special to Aerotech News
LANCASTER, Calif.- On Sept. 16, 2020, at the, the American Legion Riders of Post 311 rolled up to the William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans Home in Lancaster on their big bikes, riding in like Santa Claus a few months early.
Plenty of the veteran riders, and the veterans at the Cal Vet-run assisted living facility, have white in their beards.
But the Legion Riders ride Harley-Davidsons rather than sleds.
“They asked us what they needed, and Lawrence Hawkins, their activities director, said that they needed some laptops,” said Phillip Waln, president of the Legion Riders, Post 311.
The Legion Riders have been active in fund-raising for veterans support, and at the opening of 2020 about a month ahead of the pandemic, they jump-started an outsize Veterans Suicide Prevention Day at the Legion Post located on the east side of Lancaster.
Hawkins and Knight Home Administrator Elvie Ancheta were standing out in front of the Cal Vet facility to welcome the riders as they rolled in, and dismounted to present the new laptop computers, four of them.
“Always looking forward to seeing these folks again,” Hawkins said, greeting the military support bikers.
The Knight Home team asked little of the Legion Riders, just that they should wear masks and keep the number of their donor group to 10. The Knight Home staff have been doing their best to keep the Covid-19 virus outside the confines of the Knight Home.
“It’s always a great day when we can give to our brothers and sisters at the Pete Knight Veterans Home,” said Dave Corbin, Patriot Guard Ride Captain for the Antelope Valley, and a Legion Rider. “It was a good job for the 311 Riders.”
Ancheta and Hawkins were effusive in their thanks.
“Our dear friends from the Lancaster American Legion Riders stopped by to deliver laptop computers for our veterans,” Ancheta said. “Usually at this time of year they are throwing barbecues and football parties for our veterans, and we dearly miss them.”
Hawkins added that the laptop program has never been more valuable since the residents aren’t able to get out much due to the Covid.
“In this way they are able to maintain contact with their families, shop online, and find out what is going on in the outside world,” Ancheta said.
Accompanying Waln and Corbin from Post 311 were Brent Waln, Don Holms, and Daniel Freeman.
Editor’s note: Dennis Anderson is a licensed clinical social worker at High Desert Medical Group. An Army paratrooper veteran, he deployed with local National Guard troops to cover the Iraq War. He works on veterans and community mental health initiatives.