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But legislative efforts are only a part of the organization’s mission. As Mr. Bender and others fight on the legislative front, Rolling Thunder’s local chapters care for veterans in ways that too often go unnoticed.

“They just want us to come down and to be a part of their lives. We provide comfort,” said James Bohannon, vice president of Rolling Thunder Maryland Chapter 1.

The group is organizing a Father’s Day cookout at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, where they expect to serve a few hundred veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“We’re definitely passionate about taking care of them, of the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way,” Mr. Bohannon added.