Raymond Black, a Vietnam veteran and member of VVA Chapter 961 in St. George, Utah, left his home under police escort May 14, starting a 1,000-mile journey aboard his trusty mobility scooter to raise funds for the chapter. Black travels around town regularly on the scooter, which is festooned with flags and other patriotic regalia. But for at least three months, he will raise awareness and money for veterans’ causes throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Black doesn’t ask for money directly, but when people stop to meet him, he gives them a brochure explaining his trek and they want to pitch in. Most of the donations Black collects go toward Chapter 961 initiatives such as a program that buys and refurbishes wheelchairs, walkers and scooters for veterans and their family members.
“He takes just what he needs for gas for his generator and a little bit to eat on,” Dan Greathouse, Chapter 961 president, told The Spectrum. “I have a hard time saying goodbye to him when he goes on these crazy trips, because I worry about him, you know?”
“I’m also out there to help veterans I come across, and they haven’t gotten any help from the VA as far as maybe a pension goes or hospital care or anything like this,” Black said. “I try to help them out the best I can.”
This isn’t the 74-year-old’s first scooter trek across the Southwest, and it likely won’t be his last. “He loves doing this,” Greathouse said. “He’s going to keep doing it until he can’t do it anymore.”