Charity Ride Provides Healing For Veterans
Contributed by Debbie Gregory
In 2014, Army Airborne Paratrooper, “Indian” Dave Frey was riding solo to the Sturgis Bike Rally when his path crossed with a fellow Paratrooper from his unit, and they quickly became friends. They talked about fellow veterans that were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and how so many are having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life after their war experiences.
Frey and his business partner, Robert Manciero, conceived the idea for a ride that would include “Motorcycle Therapy” and create an adventure of a lifetime for wounded veterans. To get started they needed motorcycles, sidecars to accommodate amputees, and support. The duo contacted Indian Motorcycles and Champion Sidecars, who both jumped onboard, and the Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) to Sturgis hit the road.
In July, 18 wounded warriors departed from Las Vegas and traveled 1600 miles of gorgeous backroads on Indian motorcycles to take part in the 4th Annual VCR to Sturgis. Along the route, entire towns came out to welcome the veterans, treat them to lunch, and celebrate their service and sacrifice.
Frey and his wife Sue offer year-round support services for the veterans that join them on the ride.
WellVet- A nutritional program that helps veterans make healthier choices
VetFam- Gives previous veteran riders and mentors the opportunity to take their family on an all-expense paid four-day retreat at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, UT.
MotoDono- A tax deductible motorcycle donation program for industry partners and the general public to donate new and used motorcycles and ATVs that are refurbished and modified (when needed) and given to veterans.
SafeVet- A motorcycle safety course that also offers assistance with maintenance, repairs and upgrades to keep riders safe.
TrustedVet- A mentoring program for previous riders to become mentors to the new veterans taking part in the Sturgis ride.
Riders also enjoyed zip-lining, river rafting, horseback riding, off-roading and other activities.
The 2016 ride was what got Army special forces veteran and VCR mentor Keith Helfrich back on a motorcycle. He found that riding relieved his anxiety away and helped him find calm and peace of mind.
“The ride is spectacular and the other veterans, our shared community, is really what this is all about,” said Helfrich. “We’re all in it together, and this ride creates lifelong bonds and friendships.”
To find out more about the Veterans Charity Ride or support their mission, visit https://veteranscharityride.org .