About Us

Founding Board

Kevin and Audra, Craig and Michelle. Two brothers and their wives. Two ride and two don’t. All four solid Wisconsinites. Parents to a collective mass of five amazing people. One lawyer, one nurse, one government employee, one communications specialist. Not one of us served, but all are grateful to those who have protected our freedoms, and continue to do so, on our behalf. Looking to combine two long time passions of Veteran support and motorcycle riding, Kevin had been looking for a way to make a large, impactful difference in a small number of lives rather than a slight difference across many. In the fall of 2014, he read an article on the therapeutic benefits of motorcycle ownership amongst Veterans with PTSD, particularly when faced with different challenges upon returning to civilian life.  Choosing to specifically focus on Wisconsin Veterans, Kevin’s vision came to life and Hogs for Heroes was born.

Working in conjunction with everyday citizens, businesses and other veteran’s organizations, we have already seen tremendous results for Wisconsin Veterans. Hogs for Heroes is truly a grassroots effort, impacting the lives of our veterans and those that support them. Please join us on our journey as we continue to positively impact the life of another deserving Veteran rider.

Our Advisory Board

Enlisting volunteer members of our community, an Advisory Board collaborates with and provides direction to our Founding Board in three primary areas:

  1. Participate in decision making as it pertains to the selection of a Veteran candidate in the gifting process.
  2. Advise on any operational or strategic matters brought to them by the Founding Board.
  3. Serve as community liaisons, fundraising advocates and organizational ambassadors for Hogs For Heroes throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Learn More

Latest News

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 our 2021 riding season, this small family nonprofit put a total of 22 injured Wisconsin Veteran riders back on the road with beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Riding is an alternative therapy and our gifts are the tools by which one gains it’s healing benefits. These pandemic times have been tough on everyone and despite this, you, our amazing Supporters, have generously shared to provide these life-changing gifts to struggling Veterans. In 2021 alone, you returned SIX injured Veteran riders back to the road! That’s six more lives fractured in service that will regain peace, freedom and control from riding. That’s six more families who will benefit from their loved one’s healing gains. And that’s six more Veterans that will reconnect with the supportive brotherhood found in riding…all because a motorcycle re-entered their lives.

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WE GIFT MORE THAN JUST A MOTORCYCLE
We work year round to raise funds for bikes and are currently fundraising for our 2022 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.

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BREAKING NEWS: MEET THE NEXT TWO VETERANS WHO WILL GET THEIR KEYS AT ONCE!

#26: INTRODUCING STAFF SERGEANT JEREMIAH SCHROEDER: For lack of a better plan, Jeremiah Schroeder of Appleton, WI, joined the Marine Corps with a buddy in 2001. After successfully becoming a Firefighter and Crash Fire Rescue Specialist, he knew he had found his purpose and set his sights on a military career. Two deployments to Iraq later, a growing family and degenerative disc disease to his back with sciatic radiculopathy redirected his course to the Marine Reserves after 12 years active duty. Riding had helped him move through his mind’s conflict and provided a release from structured military life. However, relocating his family and starting anew required he sell his Harley in 2013 to buy a home: a hard loss he thought he’d correct after settling. In twists of fate that he couldn’t see coming, that change started a long line of broken plans, pain and anxiety, and a frustratingly long string of failed civilian jobs. While medical retirement in 2020 has provided him with some benefits, civilian life proved harder than imagined and, unfortunately, left him without a bike for the past nine years as he repeatedly put his family’s needs first. Hogs For Heroes felt that Jeremiah needed a positive turn in his life and selected him to receive the gift of wind therapy. Read Jeremiah’s story here.

#27: MEET ARMY SERGEANT ZACH BAYS: Zach Bays of Berlin, Wi, dreamed of joining the Army for as long as he can remember. He enlisted at age 17, completed boot camp the summer before his senior year and left for advanced training school after graduating…but not before spending every day of his summer riding his new 500 Ninja sport bike. A Biomedical-Electronic Technician, Zack waited and hoped for his time to deploy. In 2007 he was sent Afghanistan for 15 months to fly around the country to inspect and attend to the medical equipment on bases. Medical equipment that was attached to injured Brothers and Sisters. Images and emotions quickly built a warehouse in Zach’s mind that affected his sleep, and caused him to become anxious, angry and depressed. Back in the states and unable to seek mental health support, he turned to his bike and rode to clear his mind of demons. He deployed again in 2010, this time to Iraq where he again attended to the equipment saving his families lives, and all the old memories and struggles mixed with the new and, at his lowest point, Zach found himself staring at his weapon in his room for four hours. He sought help, was quickly medivaced back to the states, and placed in a medical review evaluation to determine service continuation. Within a year he was medically retired with PTSD and returned home to Wisconsin with his wife to begin civilian employment. He floundered from job to job, saw his marriage dissolve, and had his bike stolen from his porch. He efforted on, but 17 jobs in 10 years left him unable to get another bike. In 2017 he met his current wife, and with her gentle support, Zach learned to communicate more, take up counseling and get another bike. He also learned to barber and started two Veteran-owned businesses. But when they learned their family would be expanding again, Zach sold his Harley for the minivan they needed, and although working steadily, has not been in a position to put a bike above his family’s needs. Hogs For Heroes felt that getting back on the road to continue his healing and celebrate his success was just what this Veteran needed. Read Zach’s story here.

Both of these bikes were sponsored in full by the stunning 2021 fundraising efforts of Wisconsin’s International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139. After last year’s Golf Outing and Poker Run benefitting us, they handed us a check for $60,000! That right there earned them bragging rights for full sponsorship of two bikes…and it only made sense that we rolled both of those out following their June 25, 2022 Poker Run for Hogs For Heroes. The Presentation of Keys Ceremony will be at 5:00 pm at the IUOE Training Center in Coloma, WI. Make it a full day and share in the best ride EVER and return in time to catch our mission in action. Click here for our gifting event details. For details on the 6/25/22 IUOE Poker Run details click here.

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STILL HOT NEWS: #25 GETS HIS RIDE UPGRADED! Marine Sergeant Patrick Dunn, of Madison, WI, enlisted in August, 2001 and was a Phase ! Recruit when 9/11 forever changed our world, and his life. In 2003 he was deployed to Iraq for his first of three deployments in three consecutive years. And while the invisible reach of PTSD took root with the first, it was his third deployment that that earned him two Purple Hearts, two amputated toes, and a lifelong battle with post traumatic stress and Survivors Guilt. For almost 10 years Patrick struggled to find his new normal, and after turning to drugs and alcohol, realized his life needed a serious directional change. He returned to his mother’s home in Wisconsin, began seeking mental health care and pursued college degrees. His combined efforts certainly placed him on a successful path, but it was his ability to learn to ride and buy a 750cc starter bike that helped him find a deeper, personal healing and freedom. Hogs For Heroes felt this man needed a ride better suited to his larger frame, and one that would really introduce him to what riding can be. Learn more about Patrick’s story here.

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MEET #23: Matthew Wagner of Belleville, WI, joined the Marine Corps in 1999 on a four-year contract to pave the way for a college education and future career. Attached to the 26th MEU as a Landing Support Specialist, life was good and full of adventure. Another deployment to the Mediterranean nearing, the events of 9/11 played out and changed his destiny. Because they were special-operations capable and already packed, he instead stepped on the shores of Pakistan and prepared an airfield for war. Returning three months later, he knew he was a different man and knew he couldn’t do another combat deployment. He changed jobs to secure stateside placement and, with nine months left on his contract, his entire Battalion was called up and deployed to Kuwait. There he was made a Convoy Driver and maneuvered the treacherous route from Kuwait to Iraq and back, every single day for six months straight. The experiences of his OEF and OIF deployments compounded themselves quickly and deeply and allowed PTSD, and its destructive hold, to grow for ten years before seeking support. Through much of this time Matt rode to find freedom from the burdens he carried. He finally sought therapy, and continues doing so, to provide him with the release and coping skills to move forward. And as he has succeeded in both his family life and professional career in law enforcement, the sale of his bike in 2014 to pay off bills has left a hole in his heart. Making his family his priority, Matt felt a bike purchase was selfish. Hogs For Heroes felt differently and thought his continued efforts would be better enhanced by regaining wind therapy in his life. Learn more about Matt’s story here.

MEET #24: Marine Veteran Gerald Sieren of Beloit, WI was thrilled to join the Marine Corps; and, while in trainings, he developed stress fractures to both shins and pushed through the pain to succeed. Later stationed in Hawaii as a Combat Engineer, the fractures flared and affected his knees. Placed on light duty to heal, he excelled at supporting base operations and earned a Meritorious Mast. However, when a new XO came on, Jerry took the brunt of his his anger and for most of the next year would be called into his private office to be verbally abused, degraded and physically assaulted. After his XO’s baton to Jerry’s hand broke two bones, the investigative aftermath deemed Jerry the expendable one and we was honorably discharged with a physical disability. After just two years, Jerry was devastated and humiliated; his self worth hit rock bottom and he deemed himself a failure. It set a course for a rollercoaster life that was filled with regrettable decisions, over 30 jobs, homelessness and suicidal ideation. In 2015 Jerry landed the job he believes to be his life calling and worked as a Veterans Outreach Coordinator for six years and now works as an Assistant CVSO. It wasn’t until that point that he finally felt the success in being a Marine and serving his fellow Brothers and Sisters. Throughout all this he had his horses for therapy: iron and four-legged, and for as much as he suffered, he made sure they did not. He rode both every chance he could for their comfort and freedom. In 2019 he sold his bike to buy a home for his new family and greatly underestimated the internal struggle this would pose. Hogs For Heroes felt that Jerry has had enough struggle in his life and chose to support his daily, ongoing fight with PTSD by putting him back on The Road. Read Jerry’s story of service and struggle here.

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CATCH OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER!  Find out the latest happenings and updates in our most recent Hogs for Heroes newsletter.  Read it here!

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UNBELIEVABLE NEWS:  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.

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LEARN ABOUT PAST RECIPIENTS! Miss the stories of our past Recipients?  Catch them below by simply clicking on the Veteran’s name button.

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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 1-22 (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.

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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.

Application & Selection Process

Once we have raised sufficient funds to purchase a Harley-Davidson, we open up our application process.  Only during that time, Wisconsin military Veterans can nominate themselves, or be nominated by someone well known to them.  Selecting one Hero is the most difficult part of the work we do; and yet, the most exciting and rewarding. Using an application process and an Advisory Board of informed and involved community members, we will select one applicant who meets the following criteria:

Each time we are ready to accept completed applications, the below links will be active and provide you further detail as well as the ability to print off, complete and mail in all the required components. We will use every means at our disposal to “blast out” the good news of our open application period and give you a specific time frame in which to share the opportunity with a qualified candidate and/or complete the process. Our Advisory Board will meet to review all applications received and postmarked by the deadline date. They will then select one Hero to receive a Harley-Davidson.  We will notify our candidate and work with a local dealership to select the motorcycle best suited for our Veteran’s needs.  We will gift our motorcycle as a symbol of gratitude from the many who contributed at a public event.  Just as we did for the open application process, we will notify our supporters of the gifting celebration so that all may honor our Veteran Hero.

Ways to Get Involved

Donate…

It is our mission to gift a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for a deserving Wisconsin hero. We are humbled by the donations of our supporters; your generosity makes this vision a reality. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Help Raise Money on Your Own…

Because we are a small grassroots organization, we depend on our supporters to spread the word to raise awareness and funds. Consider hosting a third-party event and share your proceeds with Hogs for Heroes.  In the past year, the amount of third-party fundraising events has been incredible, with businesses, clubs and veteran’s groups sending us donations from sponsored rides, golf outings and events. The list of ideas can be just as creative as you wish: club cook-outs, motorcycle rides, garage sales, golf outings, chili cook-offs, bowling events, bake sales, car washes, brat stands, cafeteria change collections, restaurant dining for causes…The list goes on.  We’d love to post your group’s efforts on our site to help promote the event and your business.

Spread the Word…

Like us, tweet us, post us, copy us, forward us, link us, blast us and just plain talk us up…the more others know what we are doing, the faster we can make the vision happen for our Veterans.

Display Our Brochures…

Have a business that is likely to interact with Veterans, loyal Americans or motorcycle enthusiasts? We would be happy to send you some brochures to display.

Make an In-Kind Donation…

Goods and services allow us to greatly enhance our fundraising and/or advertising possibilities and reduce our operational costs. Large items for raffles, food or drinks for events, printing services or event hosting capabilities—- the list goes on for us and gives you a great tax break along with a marketing presence.

Volunteer Your Time…

It’s hard for us to get around the entire state, that’s where social media and the generosity of others comes into play. Consider sharing your talents, manning a booth, talking to your local community groups, or reaching out to those who may be interested on our behalf.

Invite Us In…

Have a community event or festival coming up that you think would embrace our mission? Have a business, employer or a club that is looking for their next benefactor? Consider inviting us in and providing us with a little space and time on your agenda.

Have Another Idea?

Just contact us – we’d love to hear from you and help make your plan happen!

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Our Supporters