Combat Hero Bike Build
I wish to thank you for the greatest honor I’ve received in the 55
years since I was severely wounded in the Vietnam War.
On March 8, 2020 I was awarded a Motorcycle Trike with an
electric hand shift to compensate for the loss of my left leg. The trike
is not only a great running machine, but it is a work of art. I’m extremely
grateful to the craftsmen who built, painted, and installed the extra equipment on my trike. It feels so good, like it did 55 years ago, to ride again.
Not only is the trike a great benefit in my life, but the ceremony in which the trike was presented to me (MOTORCYCLE AND CAR SHOW, Colorado Springs, CO) was filled with an uncountable number of people who genuinely thanked me for my war service. I’ve never experienced that amount of honoring in my 55 years since being wounded.
John, far too many people contributed to this event for me to list them all, much less remember their names. However, besides yourself, a few were primary in making this happen. Tom Brunette, Karen White, Jody Peterson, Scott (Doc) Prater, Jim Weir, Bear. Again, I apologize for not being able to list more and I’m grateful beyond words to everyone who helped make my event so honoring and memorable.
Thanks to all, and especially you John, for making IT HAPPEN!!!
W. Tom Gleeson
Sgt. US Army Retired
Having never driven a motorcycle before I never realized what I had missed. Now that I have been able to drive my amazing motorcycle I can feel that "wind therapy" I kept hearing people mention. It truly is therapeutic being able to hop on my bike and ride around. I have felt my stress level drop, my smile broaden and have a new desire to cruise the beautiful roads America has to offer!
Receiving a custom built motorcycle(trike) from Combat Hero Bike Build has been an amazing experience. From the initial meeting with my builder, Mark Richardson, and his amazing family/community to the first moment I fired up my bike, I was in complete shock and disbelief. This truly wonderful group have transformed motorcycle into a work of art that is reflective of my service. When I ride I feel free, not just because I have the wind in my face and the sun on my back, but free as though part of my independence has been restored. After being wounded in 2006 I thought that I would have to give up on my dreams of riding a motorcycle again. Now I have the ability to ride and be free.
In addition to the freedom it provides, this motorcycle gives me more access to the veteran community than I could have ever thought possible. Veterans are attracted to it, which allows me to have conversations with them. These short micro-conversations allow me to form better bonds with veterans. This is exactly where I wanted to be able to focus more of my attentions on with community outreach work.
Video courtesy of Joffrey Mason
It’s hard to find the appropriate words to write to truly show my gratitude to the patriots at Combat Hero Bike Build for this exquisite, custom Harley Davidson. So beyond my thank you, I hope that my permanent smile as I ride the shit out of it reflects it! There are so many thanks to be given for this badass motorcycle that go beyond the amazing people at Combat Hero Bike Build. The builder, Mark Daley at ThunderStruck Customs, did an outstanding job. The painter, Jason Titus at Sucker Punch Paint, added some amazing detail on top of that beautiful color. The engravings, done by hand, by Air Force veteran Bryan Skiles, are like nothing I have ever seen before. The perfect powder coating was done by Jesse Ruiz. Right when you think it couldn’t get any better, there is so much more to it that makes this a very special chunk of Iron rolling around in two wheels...
The bikes sentimental value actually starts 30 years ago. My biological father was a biker. Some of my earliest memories involve large bearded men in leather hanging around the house. I rode to kindergarten on the back of my Dad’s raked out Harley. David Mann paintings depict what my idea of bike should look like, engrained in me at an early age. Shortly after these memories, came the untimely death of my parents. My mother in a car accident, and my father a year later on his motorcycle. After that, there was an extended amount of time in my life that did not involve two wheels. The old saying, “You can take someone out of something, but you can’t take that something out of them”, holds true in my life. I’d eventually work my way back home....
That home I have found. The family is amazing! That is where the next chapter started. A Marine and board member of CHBB, who lived in another state had a son that I had become friends with. It was his son that got this ball rolling, recommending me to receive a modified motorcycle from his dad’s organization. I wish he was here to witness it in person, but I know I will always have a Guardian Angel when I ride it. RIP EC
The bike itself, before being donated to CHBB, was ridden hard and fast by a man, who not only shared my idea of a what a motorcycle should look like, but was also a part of this great big family. Slick passed away from his injuries after he went down on this bike, and his wife donated it. I am so privileged to have it passed on to me, and hope to honor all these great men not with us today, by riding it like they would have.
Thank you to everyone that has had a part in this that I have have not mentioned. You all know who you are. Thank you to everyone in this community for your friendship, support, patriotism and constant selfless giving you do for those around you. Last, but definitely not least, I’d like to thank my Fiancé, Vanilla Dawg, she is the most beautiful woman inside and out. I learn to be a better person by following her example each and every day.
Motorcycles have changed my life and they continue do it, from the healing properties that come from wind in the face, to all the good that has come from the people that also ride them.
Freedom is our purpose when we’re serving, the freedom of those we fight for and fight alongside. When we serve we have answered a calling that freedom is worth our sacrifice, whatever it may be.
What we see and do and those we lose while fighting for the freedom of others leaves a hole as many of us know. Amazingly, while many scars still remain with me, freedom has filled that hole. The combat hero bike builders showed me yet again how fighting for the freedom of others is a calling that does not end, as they worked to set me free.
Riding for me has become a time the important problems of our world fade like trees passing in the mirror if only for moments, and where my wife and I can connect in a way that only happens while sharing excitement and a thrilled heart, and where my children can not just see the passing world but feel and hear it as brushes by while sharing smiles with me, and it has shown me the heart of countless other veterans and created an opportunity to connect and hear about the holes they are filling with freedom as well.
Brian Jeffrey Mast
Many of our Warriors come home with both mental and physical disabilities. For some, due to the nature of the injuries, it can be extremely life altering. Motorcycling requires both a mental and physical commitment that promotes the individual’s ability to overcome their newest challenges to experience life as it is meant to be. This program takes the Warrior past the “thank you for your service” and enables them to show others and themselves that nothing can stop the person who wants to move on.
Another great way to support Combat Hero Bike Build when you are shopping at Amazon - use the adjacent link to shop. 0.5% of all purchases will be donated directly to Combat Hero Bike Build.
Just follow the adjacent link to Amazon Smile and sign in as you would normally to Amazon.