Local non-profit sending 42 Vietnam vets to D.C. memorial wall

NOW: Local non-profit sending 42 Vietnam vets to D.C. memorial wall

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Ahead of Thursday's trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the non-profit Get Wet for a Vet explains how it formed and why it's funding a "Welcome Home Tour" for 42 Vietnam vets.

Over the past year, the group has raised more than $45,000 to give these vets an all-expenses paid trip to D.C.

377 bikers and more than 1,000 community members came out to the annual fundraiser on July 14 to make sure the group hit its goal.

In the past, the non-profit has donated to the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association and Miller's Veteran Center, to name a couple.

Click below to hear the current executive officer and his wife share how being a part of CVMA, which preaches "vets helping vets," has impacted them--and what they think of this year's tour.

This year, its members are sponsoring a "Welcome Home Tour," which will be escorted by about 14 bikers, the group's founder included.

“It really means a lot to me to show respect to our Vietnam veterans that didn’t get the respect that they were entitled to when they came home," said Get Wet for a Vet's founder, Linn Morrow.

The name Get Wet for a Vet just comes from the fact that Linn had a dunk tank around which she built her first event in 2013.

One of Linn's fellow bikers, board members, and a combat veteran, Jim Metherd, originally pitched the idea of honoring the vets who came home to protests instead of praise.

“Our veterans coming home from Vietnam, it wasn’t pretty. There was no welcome home...I’m a combat veteran myself, and I came home to a parade back in 1992...and my inspiration was to really truly pay back...Isn’t that what we should all do, truly?” said Jim.

He says this tour gives them the chance to acknowledge the sacrifices the vets made decades ago.

"This is our opportunity to say...we thank you for what you’ve done for your service to our country and our way of life, so welcome home, Get Wet for a Vet style," said Jim.

The group leaves Thursday morning from the VFW 360 in Mishawaka.

ABC 57's Jess Arnold will be following the vets to D.C. and have live reports throughout the weekend.

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