(Photos of the event can be found at the bottom of the story)
Since 2015, Wheels 4 Warriors (W4W) has given away twenty-four motorcycles to veterans across the United States and on Saturday, July 24 the tradition continued with their twenty-fifth in Broken Bow. The recipient, Josh Wrick of Loup City, was nominated by the local American Legion Riders who then, in partnership with W4W, presented Josh with a Victory motorcycle.
Jeremiah Daugherty who organized Saturday’s Car and Bike show told KCNI/KBBN that he has been working with W4W for a number of years. He got his start after a motorcycle was donated to him which he then donated to W4W. The bike was eventually raffled off to help raise money for the organization and to bring attention to what W4W does for veterans.
After working with W4W he continued his work with the Veterans Active Guard and Reserve program at Becton Dickinson (BD). Jeremiah noted that he wanted to get the community involved more and really recognize those in the area and decided a car and bike show would be a perfect way to do that.
“We haven’t had a car show in Broken Bow in many years. Let’s do a car and bike show and why not present a bike while we’re at it and bring community involvement and recognition to a veteran here locally,” said Jeremiah.
During the presentation Saturday, W4W President Craig Toupin applauded the work that Jeremiah has done with W4W and other veteran organizations and stated he had been instrumental in fundraising, but also locating veterans in need. Because of his work, W4W presented Jeremiah with a plaque thanking him for his continued work.
The plaque read: “As we express our gratitude we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by the. In honor of your continued support of Wheels 4 Warriors USA, we would like to thank you by living by your actions and to serve and honor your fellow veterans.”
During the presentation, W4W Vice President Jesse Cunningham made the announcement that Josh had been selected as the recipient of the motorcycle which resulted in a literal jaw-drop moment for the veteran. An appropriate response for someone who had just been awarded a motorcycle, Josh told said he was completely shocked when he heard his name being announced.
“Shock,” said Josh. “I didn’t know what to think. This is the first time I’ve ever won anything and I didn’t know what to expect.”
Josh spent seven months in Iraq during his first deployment between Baghdad and the Syrian border while his second deployment took him to the west side of Iraq. During the presentation, Jesse stated that Josh was looking for the comradery and sense of service he once had while serving in the military.
Josh said the American Legion Riders provide the support that people in the military can understand and relate to.
“They look out for you,” said Josh. “People you don’t even know and they got your back for anything and everything. It’s awesome. You really don’t find that anywhere. You got your close group of friends growing up through school, but in the military, there is nothing like it.”
The donated motorcycle’s insurance along with any maintenance will be covered by W4W for an entire year. Fuel will also be covered for an entire year, thanks to a donation from Trotter’s Woah and Go.
Craig said W4W has been successful across the United States by helping veterans get back to normal lives and adapting from the military to civilian life.
“It doesn’t matter to us if they have a handicap or not, we’ll adapt the motorcycle if we can,” said Craig. “We have had a lot of success with our program. We’ve seen recipients make a 180° turn in their lives.”
Wheels 4 Warriors USA is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and support from communities to be able to continue their mentorships in all four corners of the U.S. For more information on W4W, visit their website, https://w4wusa.org/, or their Facebook page, Wheels 4 Warriors USA.
Craig encourages anyone who has a motorcycle they are no longer riding and looking to get rid of to donate it to the organization where it will then be gifted to a deserving veteran.
Craig said, “We can use that motorcycle to change somebody’s life and our program changes lives.”