Nolanville — More than 30 area bikers kicked up their stands Saturday at Kay’s Motorcycle Mania during an event to raise funds for the William R. Courtney Veterans Home in Temple.

Michael “Thumbtack” Nail, Sergeant of Arms for the local chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, said the first annual 9/11 Vets for Vets Memorial Run is a great way for active-duty soldiers to support veterans.

“We take care of our older vets now so later on when I can’t do (things) for myself, it’s going to help me and my family and the rest of these guys out,” he said.

Vanessa “Skunk” Avalos, of Killeen, said she started riding when her husband, a combat veteran who served in Iraq, retired in 2008.

“This is a really good fit for him because he can be with other people who have gone through what he’s been through,” she said.

The Army wife of 28 years said it’s important to give back to veterans and families.

Avalos said civilians don’t know what it’s like to send your husband off, not knowing if he will come back.

“We go through so much — the deployments, being separated, the loss,” she said. “I had a baby by myself because he was deployed. I kept the family together and we’ve moved a lot.”

Retired Sgt. Robert “Nuttin” Singletary, who came up from the Austin chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association to participate in the ride, also emphasized the importance of helping fellow veterans, especially in the community surrounding Fort Hood, where the needs of veterans are magnified.

“I see so many that do not have the support, and if there’s something that I can do to help them and make their lives better, then it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s vets helping vets.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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