AVTT WALL
Veterans Rally & Combat Hero Bike Build Team Up to put a Warrior Back on the Road

by: Tim Anderson, re-printed from Southwest Scooter News – July 2017

CHBB-350Gunnery Seargeant Chris Claude before the accidentThe Salute to American Veterans Rally is, without question, a motorcycle event populated by veterans, patriots, and people motivated to celebrate freedom and honor those who defend it.

In that vein, the rally will step up again in 2017 with another first when the Combat Hero Bike Build project presents a customized motorcycle to a wounded warrior during the rally.

Motorcycles have always represented freedom. It’d be tough to find someone who cherishes freedom more than a man or woman who fought for it.

That’s why it’s doubly hard to see a warrior wounded in battle who finds himself unable to participate in the one activity that literally screams freedom—ride a motorcycle.

That’s where the Eagle Warriors and the Combat Hero Bike Build come in.

Eagle Warriors is a sub-group of the Run For The Wall organization. The Mission of Eagle Warriors is to develop and implement programs that serve veterans and their families that enhance the quality of their lives, allow them to realize their full potentials, and recognize the sacrifices they have made. The primary focus of Eagle Warriors is to locate severely injured combat veterans and provide those combat heroes with the opportunity to experience the free-spirited nature of motorcycling. Through the rebuilding of motorcycles that are modified and personalized to the veterans’ abilities, the veterans are empowered as motorcycle riders to experience a sense of freedom which Eagle Warriors believes to be an obligation owed to those who have so bravely sacrificed for the freedom of all.

Rebuilding and modifying motorcycles is the job of the Combat Hero Bike Build project, headed by John “Hardcharger” Barker.

And the latest project by CHBB will come to Cripple Creek Colorado on August 18-20 for the Salute to American Veterans Rally. There, the bike will be given to the man it was refitted and modified for: Gunnery Sergeant Chris Claude from Pennsylvania.

CHBB-640Gunnery Seargeant Chris Claude’s Humvee rests upside down after taking a hit from an IED. The blast took Gunny’s right leg.

Claude was seriously wounded in an IED blast, and lost his right leg above the knee, in addition to other considerable wounds. That makes riding a motorcycle a little tough, so in stepped CHBB.

“We let bike recipients choose the bike they’d like from what we have or can get,” explained Barker. “It’s their bike, they should have a say in what the bike is and what it looks like. Then, we get all the necessary modifications made and finish up the bike before we present it to them.”

How and why Gunny Claude’s bike is coming to Cripple Creek is a bit different, but absolutely makes sense.

“I was looking around for an event for the bike presentation,” Barker explained. “I was just online searching when I came across the Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek. It looked like a pretty good event—really the kind of thing I was looking for—so I called to ask about the rally and told them a little about what we do. Right then, Jim Wear invited us to Cripple Creek. That’s all there was to it. We’re excited to come to this rally, and we’re happy they’re willing to make the bike presentation to Gunny part of the events there.”

The excitement and happiness goes both ways.

“The rally committee is very honored to have the Veterans Rally chosen for this presentation,” said rally committee co-chair Ray McPeek. “Of all the available venues and all the other veterans stuff going on around the country, they chose us. That’s really cool. This will be a unique and special event unlike anything we’ve had at the rally before. We’re excited to do this.”

Before the presentation, though, Gunny Claude will have to travel from his home in Pennsylvania, and the bike will come with Barker from Oregon. The bike will be officially presented to Gunny Claude during the Remembrance Ceremony in Cripple Creek City Park at noon Saturday August 19th.

The bike will be done—refitted, painted and everything ready to go,” Barker said. “We’ll have a couple surprises we’ll throw in that should be pretty good. I’ve been told I have a knack for making grown men cry, so we’ll see how it goes….”

The bike Gunny Claude selected is a trike that had been donated back to the cause by a previous recipient known as SGT Rock, a Vietnam vet. The motor was replaced with a 103-inch power plant, a little rake was pushed into the front end, and there are dual brake levers on the right grip…plus new personalized paint and a several other special touches and modifications. Barker said on average, CHBB spends about $27,000 on each bike it refits, taking three to four months for each bike—all with volunteer workers. The group gives away one or two bikes a year.

We say at Run For The Wall that we ride for those who can’t,” Barker said. “Now we’re helping those who want to ride to enjoy the freedom of riding.”

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Last Updated on Monday, 31 July 2017 13:12