Veterans helping Veterans (on motorcycles!)


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“When you leave the military, you kind of feel like you lose your team,” says Richie ‘Two Chairs’ Neider, an Army veteran from Phoenix who was injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom when an IED caused a spinal chord injury that would confine him to a wheelchair. “The healing happens. You just have to keep moving forward.”

Neider grew up riding motorcycles, so returning to a life where he might not be able to ride again only exacerbated his sense of loss. But then he discovered the Veterans Charity Ride, a nonprofit organization founded by fellow Veteran Dave Frey in 2014 after talking with other Veterans about how to help those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Dave came in my life last year and drug me out of the house,” recounted Neider, standing beside the custom motorcycle and sidecar he built (and now controls) with his hands. This past July, he and 17 fellow Veterans took to the open road and set out for the world’s largest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

“Motorcycle therapy is this phenomenon that actually happens when you’re riding a motorcycle,” says Frey. “It’s getting out on that motorcycle that you have to be in command of. That really helps our guys and gals that have been through combat issues.” Most of their motorcycles are donated by Indian Motorcycle for the Veterans to use – and when they arrive in Sturgis each year, the VFW now organizes a Military Appreciation Day, providing an even greater sense of community and belonging.

“It was a flood of emotion,” Neider confirms. “By the time we go to Sturgis last year, it was just complete unit cohesion.”

VA knows better than anyone that ‘healing’ is, quite often, a team and community effort. That’s why we do all we can to support and promote groups like Veterans Charity Ride and the Veteran communities – and Veteran healing – they foster. To join our efforts and explore your own opportunities with VA, please visit www.vacareers.va.gov

Author

VA Careers

Comments

  1. Joel Lebowitz    

    I’m a 69 Disabled Vietnam Veteran. The V A in Muskogee, OK has a cycling program. I use to participate in the program. I had to stop because I could no longer drive from Broken Arrow, OK to Muskogee. No longer allowed to drive a car. My Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is progressively getting worse. But I ride my Cat Trike Pocket around Broken Arrow. I would recommend using an adaptive bicyle or a regular one to any Veteran. They need to look into Project Heroes of what ever city there in.

  2. john fitzgerald    

    Big Howdy to the Staff:
    Our non-profit veteransinitiatives.org is a 501, C-19 preparing to start a school to teach mfg tech to our DAV’s. along the way, we thought that restoring a D-Sports racer & the construction of several replicas might be an exciting method of getting some of our DAV’s involved in automotive construction with some on-track time as well. this is a sportycar class that allows much hot-rodding & innovation. we could adapt some controls so most any DAV could learn the basics of road racing. the D-Sport racing class can easily hit 135 mph, enough to ‘get your full attention. some of these D-Sports use motorcycle-based motors such as the Yomama V-4 Interceptor that can put out +150 hp!
    We are located in McGill, NV & just moved 57 tons of machinery to our bldg. we will also be constructing a sand-cast foundry to assist with our mfg school.
    We ask for advice from vet-orgs & those employed in mfg to assist us. we are not sure how anyone who reads this can EM us. is this forum strictly a reply type, with no ping-back? dang-sure hope not.
    May God protect our valiant warriors,
    john fitzgerald

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