POCATELLO — The local chapter of the Brother Speed motorcycle club hosted a raffle at its clubhouse Saturday to benefit Professional Transformation Sports Development, or PTSD, which is a Pocatello-based nonprofit that helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression by providing them with outdoor recreation opportunities.
The raffle was part of the club’s third annual PTSD awareness month event. According to club President Howard Moir, the group had previously donated the money raised from the events to a national veteran organization. But a club member had heard about the PTSD non-profit and decided the money would be better spent on a local cause.
“We hope to keep this organization involved in every (fundraiser) from here on out,” Moir said.
Russell Davies, founder of PTSD, said Brother Speed approached him about collaborating on a fundraiser.
“I was a little surprised because I had not heard that they had done anything along those guidelines in the past,” Davies said, “and when they informed me that they did, I was definitely excited about the opportunity.”
In addition to raffling off Brother Speed merchandise, the club purchased a motorcycle and a few members of the club customized it to raffle it off. The bike is not yet sold, and raffle tickets can be purchased at the clubhouse for $25 each.
According to Moir, there are 1,600 available tickets for the bike, and it will be raffled off at next year’s fundraiser, at which time the $40,000 raised from the bike, along with the money raised from the other raffles, will be donated to PTSD.
Davies said the money will be used to help fund the operational costs of PTSD, which serves veterans from throughout the country by bringing them to Pocatello for a two-week course on the outdoor recreation activities of their choice. Options include rock climbing, kayaking and more.
PTSD pays for the veterans’ flights as well as their accommodations, food and recreation equipment. And the veterans are able to keep the equipment once the class is done.
The cost for each individual class is between $25,000 and $40,000, Davies said, adding that they try to put 10 veterans in each class and typically serve about 40 veterans a year.
However, as demand for the program has grown, Davies said it has become difficult to accommodate every veteran who signs up.
“We have such a massive amount of veterans registering that it’s almost a two- to three-year waiting list for each sport,” he said. “So we’re trying to grow and trying to expand.”
Davies said he was initially a little apprehensive to meet with Brother Speed members, but quickly realized they were not what he thought.
“I think it’s unfortunate that they have such a bad reputation,” Davies said. “They were super nice, very welcoming and very respectful. They truly care about the community. They love this area. They think the world of our veterans and the people serving, and this is just one of the ways they can give back.”
Moir said the club chose to raise money each year for post-traumatic stress disorder because it is something that affects more than just veterans.
“PTSD has been in our community forever,” Moir said. “This is just something that we can do to get the general public to understand that there’s a problem with it. PTSD can be in anybody who’s had trauma in their lives.”
Since Davies’ organization relies heavily on community donations to continue its operations, Davies said the help from Brother Speed was greatly appreciated.
“We like to get money from the community that ultimately just goes right back into it, and that Brother Speed recognized that and reached out to us is beyond amazing,” he said. “If people were more aware of how much good they’re doing and their positive impact, they would probably not have such a distorted image of what they think Brother Speed stands for.”
Moir hopes through events such as these, the community will become more aware of the club’s efforts to support local organizations and raise awareness to issues.
“I’d like Brother Speed to get a little bit of recognition for doing good things in the community,” Moir said. “We’re just trying to do good things for the most important causes to us.”