Hogs For Heroes came to life in late 2014 with a small family vision and our nonprofit designation. We raised our first dollar in the spring of 2015 and hoped to reach our goal of giving one Harley a year. Right on plan, we gifted our first bike in May of 2016…and with the close of the 2020 riding season, this small family nonprofit put a total of sixteen injured Wisconsin Veteran riders back on the road with beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
We work year round to raise funds for bikes to gift during Wisconsin’s riding season. These pandemic times have been tough on everyone and, in preparing ourselves for a leaner year of gifting motorcycles, we hoped we could gift two. Instead, we will be gifting at total of SIX Harleys in 2021! That’s six more struggling lives changed…because of your amazing support. And six more shopping trips to let them choose the bike of their dreams. Stay tuned as we canvas Wisconsin returning freedom to those who fought for ours! And from the bottom of our hearts…thank you.
LIKE US & SHARE US on Facebook—this is how we communicate most news! The more others know what we’re doing, the faster we can make our vision a healing reality for another injured WI Veteran rider.
AND HERE’S #21…GETTING HER BIKE IN 2021: Staff Sergeant and Stryker Commander Ashley Ferg was with the Army National Guard for 16 years as a Chemical Operations and Chemical Reconnaissance Specialist, and during that time deployed twice to combat zones— first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. As there wasn’t a need for her MOS, she was assigned to fill in vacated positions with the units she was attached to and found herself working in roles she was less than prepared for. She saw things that can’t be unseen, she felt things that can’t be forgotten, and she did things, in war, that can’t be undone. Those “things” all came together quickly to deeply settle within and create PTSD that left her struggling with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for the next 15 years of her life. One of the best things she did for herself as she began fighting back and taking control of her life was to take a riders class and buy her first bike in 2018. Unfortunately the old bike was in disrepair and needed more work than imagined, and it has compromised her time on the road. Hogs For Heroes thought Ashley’s healing path was best supported by keeping riding in her life, and it thrilled us to be able to place our second female Veteran on the road. Learn more about Ashley’s candid struggle with life here, and join us as we hand over her set of keys to the bike she’s dreamed of on August 7. Click here for her event details and a PDF flier to print off.
MEET RECIPIENT #20: Vietnam Army Veteran David Ronn of Fond du Lac, WI is our fourth WI Veteran to receive our healing gift this summer, and it’s a trike! Rather than accept his father’s ultimatum to stay in high school or get a job, Dave chose to enlist in the Army at 17 years old. He trained as a Combat Medic and was sent to Vietnam less than six months later for his first of three tours from 1968-1970. There, he worked in a field hospital buried underground to provide emergent care to those Brothers brought in directly from combat. The images, sounds and guilt for all he couldn’t save forever burdened, and changed, the young man’s now 70 year old life. About 40 years ago he bought his first Bike and learned how to deal with his then, undiagnosed PTSD. He believes riding, and the connections it’s made him, helps him be a better person. And as he’s aged, safely managing his 34 year old, unreliable Gold Wing has become more problematic. Hogs For Heroes felt this man needed to stay on his healing path with the stability of a H-D Tri Glide and gifted him his trike on July 24, 2021.
Learn more about Dave’s story here,
WOW! OUR SUPPORTERS ARE THE BEST! On June 6, Sloppy Joes in Hubertus and sister restaurant Smoke on The Water on Lake Okauchee threw one heck of a Ride & Festival for us! Even more astonishing, in this single day event they raised enough to sponsor a Veteran & Harley pairing in full!
And hold onto your hats…. because the many hard hats that comprise Wisconsin’s International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 139 blew us away, again! Between their 6/19 Golf Outing and 6/26 Poker Run, these amazing folks and their generous supporters, including the American Legion Post 139, raised a combined total of $60,000 for us! That’s two more bikes, plus a heck of a start on the next!
We’re raising funds now for 2022’s Harley giftings; and with this kind of community support, we’ll put at least another three Veterans back on the road in 2022. And that’s to start…
INTRODUCING RECIPIENT #19: Army Sergeant Neal Long in De Pere, WI is our third WI Veteran to receive a Harley from us in 2021! After 9/11 rocked our world, Neal realized what his life direction needed to be and enlisted in the Army two weeks later and specialized in Military Police. After three one-year deployments in four years to Iraq’s combat zones, Neal unfortunately learned the crushing blow PTSD takes on one’s life, career and family. Having grown up around bikes and working as a service assistant at a H-D dealership before deploying, Neal experienced the value in connecting with the road. He bought a bike right out of service, and along with counseling and medications, did what he could to combat the demons he had acquired. He sold his bike two years later to support his growing family’s needs…and hasn’t been in a position to afford another since. Hogs For Heroes thought it was time this man reconnect with his personal release and the support it provides. Neal found his love on Vandervest H-D showroom floor: a 2019 Road Glide in Twisted Cherry with just 6,800 miles on her! Learn more about Neal’s story by clicking here.
… Fox News and their Fox & Friends First morning program flew a crew out, with Anchor Todd Piro, to interview our Hogs For Heroes family and recipients as we handed over our 18th set of keys to Marine Veteran Rick Erickson on May 23, 2021. National attention? Us? UNBELIEVABLE! Take a few minutes to watch this compassionate production on our mission’s efforts and impact by clicking here
LEARN ABOUT PAST RECIPIENTS! Miss the stories of our past Recipients? Catch them below by simply clicking on the Veteran’s name button.
CATCH OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER! Find out the latest happenings and updates in our most recent Hogs for Heroes newsletter. Read it here!
“PINCH ME AGAIN” NEWS TO US…THE HOGS FOR HEROES GOLDEN ALE IS BACK FOR 2021 AND ROLLING OUT TO A BAR NEAR YOU! #HONORED to have the partnership of Captial Brewery and the Tavern League of Wisconsin supporting us again! This limited release craft beer is a fabulous Golden Ale, light and full-flavored, and specifically created to express the partnership’s deep gratitude to Veterans and support those who served. The beer flew off shelves last year and had people searching the state for it! Ask your favorite bars and stores to bring it in!
SUPER COOL NEWS: Once again, our Recipients came up with a way to express their appreciation for the healing gifts you made possible in their lives. In addition to the decals they previously made, they recently chose to have license plates that designate their gifting number for those who want them. Watch for WI motorcycle plates on the road that read H4H 1-16 (i.e. H4H 6), with hopefully more numbers to come. And please note, Hogs For Heroes does not ask Recipients to tag their beautiful bikes (or themselves) in any way. They choose to do it.
THE “THIS JUST DOESN’T GET OLD” NEWS: In November, 2019, our Founding Family was surprised by a party our Recipients, their spouses and our Board members threw to honor us. We still choke up over this. NBC15 Madison was on hand to capture the surprise moment and tell us our nonprofit had been selected for their regional “Making A Difference” Award! This beautiful piece was created and narrated by NBC News Anchor John Stofflet and his skilled team, and features our first recipient, Sun Prairie Marine Scott Kruchten. And the cherry on top… it won a coveted Edward J. Muir journalism award in 2020. Catch the video here.
Veteran 1: Kruchten
Veteran 2: Tinsley
Veteran 3: Kvitek
Veteran 4: Bentley
Veteran 5: Vandeyacht
Veteran 6: Russow
Veteran 7: Giese
Veteran 8: Thiede
Veteran 9: Sokel
Veteran 10: Cutler
Veteran 11: Provencher
Veteran 12: Swaney
Veteran 13: Buchanan
Veteran 14: Richter
Veteran 15: Endicott
Veteran 16: West
Veteran 17: Flynn
Veteran 18: Erickson
Veteran 19: Long
Veteran 20: Ronn
Veteran 21: Ferg