Our founding father Albert “Papa Bert” Butler had a dream of a Motorcycle Club of Veterans helping Veterans, since his active duty days. While living in San Diego at Murphy Canyon Military Housing Bert organized the Murphy Canyon MC. As you can imagine keeping an MC together comprised of active duty personnel was not an easy task. The very nature of the military life is constant change and moving from place to place. Eventually the Murphy Canyon MC was no more. But Bert continued his desire to get an MC started in the San Diego area.
After retiring from the Navy after twenty-four years Bert joined another organization. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). While there he met other likeminded veteran motorcycle riders. It didn’t take long for Bert’s wheels to start churning and he soon came to the realization that the VFW needed a recruiting tool to attract younger members to its ranks. He wanted to sell the idea of an MC to the VFW.
Bert understood the inner workings of the VFW and the political nature of the mother organization however, Bert also knew all the right people. He quickly began recruiting potential members who would later become the VFW MC. He needed to prove to the Department of California and the VFW National Organization that his vision would in fact be a benefit to the larger organization. He became active in VFW District 1 (San Diego) and at the Department of California Level as the Department Historian. He did so promoting the VFW MC the whole way!
On January 29th 2004 the VFW National Command, John Senk National Adjutant General, responded to a letter submitted by Bert through Department of CA John G. Lowe, Adjutant Quartermaster. The response was approval for the VFW MC to operate within the Department of CA and authorized to wear the Cross of Malta.
Bert was well on his way to his dream of am MC of Veterans helping Veterans! He started rallying the troops he had collected and began getting organized. He started the Mother Chapter of the VFW MC and held his first meetings at the Lakeside VFW Post 5867.
In time Bert expanded chapters further north in California and established an Inland Empire Chapter and Gold Rush Chapter. Times were good and Bert was off raising money to support causes such as; Chula Vista Veterans Home, Wheelchair Games, and Golden Age Games just to name a few.
It wasn’t until August 23rd 2010 when National Commander in Chief, Richard Eubanks dropped Resolution 308 at the 111th National Convention, that a dark cloud set in over the VFW MC. The resolution was developed by Allen “Gunner” Kent National Adjutant General, in order to establish a VFW Riders Group Organization. The resolution had strict guidelines against operating as a Motorcycle Club. The MC life, for which we had officially operated in for six years, and believed in, was now in jeopardy.
But Bert was NOT going to give up his dream that easy! Bert called on his VFW brothers, Jim Rohwaldt and Bobby Price. At the very next National Convention, Department of CA Commander, Bobby Price submitted his own Resolution! Resolution 9 written May 26th 2011, that would fundamentally grandfather the VFW MC in the Department of CA. Bobby knew our value to the organization and how much the VFW MC gave to the community and the posts in the Districts they operated. To Gunner Kent’s amazement the resolution passed and the VFW MC maintained their authorization to operate.
Despite all that has occurred since 2004 we are still here and doing well. Although we have lost Bobby, Jim and Bert along the way. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, had it not been for them before us we would not stand here before you today.