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  • Writer's pictureRJ Swist

What Did Speaking to the CVMA Mean to Me?

So, when I started my mission to help our Veterans, Active Duty, First Responders, and their families, I had no idea where to start. A friend mentioned Patriot Villas, a transition home for our Veterans. I started showing up on the first Saturday of each month to support the Veterans by supplying clothes and supplies purchased with donations. The first Saturday is Breaking Bread with Vets, hosted by the CVMA 34-4 (Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association).

Once I began coming each month, I got to know Julie Neira, the CVMA 34-4 Chapter Public Relations Officer. From the first time I showed up, Julie began asking me about RJ’s Mission, and it took off from there. Julie herself is an advocate for our Veterans through Every time we saw each other at Patriot Villas, she was more intrigued with my mission's progress and continued offering feedback and opportunities. At the time, I was a bit small and overwhelmed to get involved with more than I could handle. Julie never stopped trying or asking.

By this time, I had been going to Patriot Villas consistently and met some of the CVMA, and they were nothing but welcoming. The CVMA Veterans I spoke to were genuinely interested and thankful for what my mission is trying to do. They knew that the months of donations and clothes we donated impacted Patriot Villas. Then Julie allowed me to speak to the CVMA at the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) in Summerville. I didn’t know what to think about it, but I never turned down a chance to talk about RJ’s Mission.


I knew I would talk about RJ’s Mission and where it started, but I was intimidated about speaking in public. Most days, I have no problems discussing my mission to help our Veterans. Is it different to give a presentation in front of Combat Veterans?

One thing I had to remember is why I am on my mission, and it is because of the Veterans from CVMA that made sacrifices for our nation. Then the day came.

Driving to the VFW in Summerville, I realized I didn’t know what I would say. It was the first time I would have the opportunity to speak to Veterans and thank them for what they have endured and done for me. I am always in their debt and could never do enough to show them the gratitude, respect, and thanks I owe them.


It was time to give my 5-minute statement to the CVMA. The CVMA welcomed me, and I began telling my story of how RJ’s Mission became a passion turned purpose for a greater cause than myself. It went well, and the biggest surprise was how they thanked me for what I did. I am still in awe of our Veterans and my immense gratitude for them. I learned that what I was doing was having an impact and helping our Veterans is my mission.

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