The American Indian Veterans Memorial will stand to further enhance the Veterans Legacy Program to educate youth on the lives of these heroes who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA — The West Coast Thunder Foundation has contributed $25,000 towards the construction of the American Indian Veterans Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery.
This monument will honor American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander Veterans, and is the first of its kind at a cemetery managed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration.
“We are happy to support the construction of a new monument honoring American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander Veterans, who have a long history of service to our country,” Jackson Dodd, Executive Director of the West Coast Thunder Foundation, said. “This memorial will pay tribute to their sacrifice in service to their country.”
Former VA Secretary Robert Wilkie broke ground on the memorial on California Native American Day, September 25, 2020, at Riverside National Cemetery, the largest and busiest managed by the VA’s National Cemetery Administration.
The memorial will feature a plaza and walkway centered around “The Gift,” a bronze statue representing an American Indian. This new memorial will stand to further enhance the Veterans Legacy Program to educate youth on the lives of these heroes who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
West Coast Thunder Foundation raises funds through community outreach, including organizing the country’s largest motorcycle ride every Memorial Day. The event brings over 10,000 riders and spectators to Riverside, many lining the streets to watch the parade travel through the city. Proceeds benefit monument construction and other ancillary services at Riverside National Cemetery.
Due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit was unable to produce the West Coast Thunder Motorcycle Ride in 2020 and 2021.
“Even though we were unable to have our events, our commitment to our cause stands resolute,” Dodd added. “We are working to continue to honor those servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Funding for the American Indian Veterans Memorial will be raised by the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee.
“For 22 years, West Coast Thunder has provided support for the Veterans and Field of Honor at Riverside National Cemetery, while also displaying great patriotism through the annual Memorial Day Motorcycle parade in Riverside, California,” Paul Adkins, Chairman of the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee, said. “I extend my personal gratitude to Jackson and the rest of the West Coast Thunder Foundation Board of Directors for their support of our efforts to construct the American Indian Veterans Memorial.”
Since 2000, West Coast Thunder has been the major contributor of funds to Riverside National Cemetery, donating over $1.2 Million. Completed projects include the construction of the National POW / MIA Memorial (dedicated in 2005), repairs to the Medal of Honor Memorial, financial support to the Riverside National Cemetery Memorial Honor Detail, and funding each July for the Concert for Heroes.
About West Coast Thunder Foundation: West Coast Thunder is a tax-exempt, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to honoring those military servicemembers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in their service to their country. The nonprofit organizes a motorcycle parade of over 10,000 each Memorial Day with proceeds benefiting monument construction and other ancillary services at Riverside National Cemetery. The foundation has also provided funding for cemetery projects, including purchasing flower cones and assisting in the monthly burials of indigent and unaccompanied homeless Veterans.
About Riverside National Cemetery: Riverside National Cemetery is the largest and busiest cemetery managed by the VA’s National Cemetery Administration. The cemetery was established in 1976 through the transfer of 740 acres from March Air Force Base. The cemetery was dedicated and opened for burials November 11, 1978. Today, the cemetery covers 1,250 acres, making it the largest cemetery managed by the National Cemetery Administration.
About Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee: Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide upkeep and support to the Riverside National Cemetery. They provide activities for veterans, their families and friends, and the community. The RNCSC also raises funding to create monuments, purchase needed equipment, and provide services for events and the dedicated staff that work at Riverside National Cemetery.