Each year, Time of Remembrance brings together the family and friends of Northwest military members killed in recent wars.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet event,” said Ginger Emerson, whose son, Matthew of Grandview, was killed in a Humvee accident in 2007 in Mosul, Iraq. “It’s a time to remember the one you lost, but it’s also a great show of pride because they do such a wonderful job of honoring them.”
The ninth annual Time of Remembrance will be Sept. 26-27 and will feature sessions to provide information and support for families, as well as a candlelight vigil at Columbia Park in Kennewick and a state recognition ceremony at Flat Top Park in West Richland.
But paying for the event isn’t easy, so a group of Mid-Columbia veterans is hitting the road to help out.
They plan a 135-mile benefit Poker Run on May 30.
“You just don’t think about what it costs to bring people in from Oregon, Washington and Idaho,” said Dan Richey of West Richland, secretary of Combat Veterans International Chapter 3. “It takes a good bit of money to put them up and feed them.”
Last year’s Time of Remembrance, which attracted 135 families and about 400 people, exceeded $30,000, he said. He hopes Saturday’s fundraising ride can offset the cost for this year’s event.
“My goal is to, ultimately, make this a self-sustaining event,” he said. “It used to be you could do this with bake sales. You just can’t raise 30 grand selling one brownie at a time.”
Registration for the Poker Run is from 10 to 11 a.m. May 30 at Ty’s Bar and Grill, 3880 West Van Giesen St. in West Richland.
From 11 to 11:30 a.m., riders will make stops at the Benton City American Legion, Prosser Veterans of Foreign Wars, Nookie’s Restaurant in Hermiston, the Pasco American Legion and Richland VFW.
They pay $20 for each poker hand, picking up a new card at each stop. Money also will be raised through a 50/50 drawing and silent auction.
Ginger Emerson and her husband, L.J., will give a kickoff speech before the ride and tell participants about Time of Remembrance.
“It’s a wonderful thing they’re doing,” she said of the poker run. “Every year, it’s in need of financial support.”
Time of Remembrance was started by Shirley Schmunk of Richland, whose son, Jeremiah, died July, 9, 2004, in Iraq.
Ginger Emerson isn’t sure if Schmunk will be taking part in the poker run, but she’s been offered a ride.
Richey hopes the event also will help attract younger veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who are part of the Combat Veterans group, together with Vietnam veterans in the VFW and American Legion.
Food has been donated to feed 150 people, and Ty’s will provide food for 150 more, if needed, Richey said. He hopes 200 to 250 motorcyclists will participate.
For information, call 509-942-4132.