Byline: Kaylea Berry/Reporter
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Veterans Affairs Service Office started the Mvskoke Riders volunteer motorcycle group to escort fallen brothers and sisters on their last mile.
“Our purpose for doing this is supporting our Mvskoke veterans, their families, and communities,” says Paul Bemore, Mvskoke Riders Commander.
Mvskoke Riders were a particular patch. The patch says ‘Mvskoke Corakkoohlikv,’ which can be interpreted as ‘horse rider’ or ‘the rider’ according to Grover Wind, VASO Director.
The patch depicts key characteristics of the military and Mvskoke culture. It says, “Going the last mile,” which the group does by escorting fallen veterans to their final resting place. Other elements in the patch design are a motorcycle, a red eagle representing war, six stars for each military branch, a fire symbolizing ceremonial practices, and a church cross.
Bemore said respect and honor are a driving force for the Mvskoke Riders.
“It’s an amazing, heart touching, heartwarming feeling for families when they have their loved one being escorted by their comrades on the back of motorcycles, He said. “All in the name of respect and honor.”
“So, in that regard, we are honor riders as much as we are Mvskoke riders.”
The riders also try to give back in other ways. Last year they put on a toy drive and collected more than a truck bed full of toys. The group plan on holding a toy drive again this year.
In addition to escorting fallen military members, the group also volunteers for dignitary escort. The Mvskoke Riders and a few Lighthorse Police Officers escorted Chief David Hill, Second Chief Del Beaver, and MCN royalty in the 2022 Cherokee National Holiday parade.
As a result of the McGirt decision and low manning, Lighthorse is not always able to provide an escort for those we have lost. However, one initiative that is in the works is the MCN VASO, and Lighthorse Police Department are working together to create a Military Funeral and Detail Unit.
The two departments hope to get three motorcycles to use solely for escorting purposes. Officers will volunteer on their own time to accompany the Mvskoke Riders using the motorcycles for funeral services.
The motorcycle group started almost a year ago and has roughly 30 volunteers in the Mvskoke Riders. That number is expected to double within the following year.
Originally Mvskoke veterans were the only volunteers, but others reached out wanting to support the cause. All volunteers are welcome regardless of military background or lack thereof. Although, riders must hold the same respect for the veterans.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to be a part of the Mvskoke Riders can call the VASO at 918-732-7739 or Paul Bemore at 505-379-6921. Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mvskoke-Riders-286928289774403/ to stay up to date.