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 to change one life a year. Right on plan, we gifted our first bike in May of 2016…and with the close of our 2022 riding season, our tiny force had put a total of 31 injured Wisconsin Veteran riders back on the road with a beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycles that they choose.
Riding is an alternative therapy and our gifts are the tools by which one gains its healing benefits: they are NOT awards for service achievements, popularity or simply thank-you gifts. They are meant to help redirect, if not save, struggling Veteran’s lives by returning them to The Road. The past three years have been tough on everyone and despite this, you, our amazing Supporters, helped us change more lives than we ever thought possible. With your support, we will put another NINE Veterans back on the road during 2023’s riding season. That’s nine more lives fractured in service that will regain peace, freedom and control from riding. That’s nine more families who will benefit from their loved one’s healing gains. And that’s nine more Veterans that will reconnect with the supportive brotherhood found in riding…all because a motorcycle re-entered their lives.
WE GIFT MORE THAN JUST A MOTORCYCLE
We work year round to raise funds for bikes and are currently fundraising for our 2024 Giftings. FOLLOW 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.
NEXT UP: #36 Chad Caso of New Glarus, WI, has had a life filled with adversity and hard hits. Signing with the Army one month before 9/11 dealt him a hand he wasn’t expecting and sent him to war just 15 months later. As an Abrams Tank Crewman his unit was the first to roll out of Kuwait and invade Iraq, clearing a path for fellow U.S. Forces to enter, take over and establish footholds. The sights, the sounds and the things he did in war left an indelible mark on his life…but it was the debilitating grip that PTSD took on Chad, and those he loved, that he still fights every single day. Part of Chad’s healing was to learn to ride and it created a passion and release his soul longs to regain. Hogs For Heroes felt it was time someone fight for Chad and selected him to be our next Recipient to receive our gift and regain the healing found in wind therapy. You can read more about Chad’s story of struggle and perseverance by clicking here.
Chad’s bike was fully paid for by the 2022 fundraising efforts of the Sloppy Joes & Smoke on The Water Ride & Festival for us…so we will be presenting our gift in front of the crowd that made it possible at this years event! Join us for the SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2023 Sloppy Joes & Smoke on The Water Benefit Ride & Music Festival for Hogs For Heroes! Chad’s PRESENTATION OF KEYS WILL BE AT 4:00 PM. Click here for the flier!
#35 GOT HIS OWN WHEELS: Army National Guard Veteran Derek Gagne, of Seymour, WI received his set of keys on 5/13/23 to a beautiful 2021 H-D Street Glide, fully sponsored by Wisconsin’s International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 139. With injuries incurred in less than four months in Iraq, this two-time Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal Recipient successfully adapted to his “new normal” with a below knee amputation on his right leg, a partial amputation on his left foot, the loss of vision in one eye and a new nose. Part of that return to normal included learning how to ride again and regaining his endorsement. He rode his wife’s Softail to perfect his skills, but life on their hobby farm has made saving for his own bike difficult. That’s where we came in. Read Derek’s story of courage and determination here. Read Derek’s story of courage and determination here .
IT WAS A GIFTING TRIFECTA! On May 6, Derby Day no less, we came out of our own gate by putting THREE injured Wisconsin Veterans back on the road with three beautiful Iron Horses! What a way to kick off our seventh year of gifting Harleys as the tool to redirect struggling lives! Marine Veteran Tim Bahr of Crandon, WI is #32 chose a 2017 H-D Tri Glide, Army Veteran Mike Erickson of Oconto, WI is #33 and selected a 2018 H-D Ultra Limited, and Army Veteran Paul Kruse of Green Bay,WI, #34, chose a 2021 H-D Road Glide. Each found their perfect fits at Doc’s Harley-Davidson in Bonduel, WI. Catch their individual stories on the Veteran Buttons below.
CATCH OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER! Find out the latest happenings and updates in our most recent Hogs for Heroes newsletter. Read it here!
LEARN ABOUT PAST RECIPIENTS! Miss the stories of our past Recipients? Catch them below by simply clicking on the Veteran’s name button.
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
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 1-31 (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.