24th Navajo Nation Council - Office of the Speaker
On Thursday, 24th Navajo Nation Council Delegate Eugene Tso (Chinle) joined the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders (NHHR) in paying tribute to veterans at the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock, Arizona.
As a Vietnam Veteran himself, Delegate Tso said, “These outstanding heroes continue to go above and beyond their call of duty to bring honor to the Navajo Nation and the United States through their selfless actions. I didn’t see or receive the services that they now provide when I got out of the war, but it encourages me to see the steps they are taking to serve their brothers and sisters in arms now.”
The stop in Window Rock was among the last for Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders Geri Hongeva and Karen Barney, who traveled 5,193 miles to Washington D.C. and back over 12 days. Specifically, they worked with the Flags of Honor Escort program to escort the Navajo Code Talker Flag and the Freedom Flags back to the Navajo Nation.
Whilst Hongeva and Barney are not veterans, they are honored to honor America’s heroes by doing something they both enjoy. In turn, the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders supported their journey by creating and distributing the hashtag #navajowomenonamission to recognize their work in delivering the flag. Hongeva and Barney began their journey May 23 and indicated that numerous veteran riders joined them along the way.
“It is very important [the honor ride] in the healing process for many of us veterans,” said Hongeva. “We do have veterans that ride with us and we do have regular community members as well.”
The Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders has provided commemorative events and services to honor veterans, fallen Soldiers, Prisoners of War, and those Missing in Action since the death of US Army Specialist Lori Piestewa in 2003.
Aside from memorial motorcycle events, the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders holds community services projects throughout the year to distribute resources to Navajo and Hopi veterans in need. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders has partnered with other organizations to distribute essential items such as personal protective equipment.
Currently, the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders is looking for more younger riders to join their annual honor rides in order to pass on their values of respect and honor as modern-day warriors.
The Navajo Nation Council thanks the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders, Hongeva and Barney for their dedication and encourages the Navajo people to also look for ways to assist our veterans safely.