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.
WE GIFT MORE THAN JUST A MOTORCYCLE.
We work year round to raise funds for bikes and are currently fundraising for our 2022 Giftings. 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.
DRUMROLL FOR #22, OUR LAST OF THE YEAR: Aaron Kream of Sheboygan, WI joined the Army in 2012 to escape his current life and build a challenging new one. He quickly found himself enamored with military life and set himself on a career path. He re-enlisted three times before deploying to Afghanistan in 2018 and while there, in the midst of violence, fear and death, he re-enlisted a fourth time. At the time he signed, he had no idea what those 8 months in war would do to him, nor could he imagine how fundamentally changed he would be as a direct result. He returned stateside in 2019 and unknowingly brought home PTSD, major depression and a Traumatic Brain Injury; and as he settled into another new base, those ramifications from war slowly began to tear apart Aaron’s mind, heart and soul. After intensive therapies, medications and counseling, he was medically retired in April 2021. Aaron grew up on dirt bikes and bought his first motorcycle at age 18…and made sure he had a bike on every base since for the escape and clarity it provided him. In preparing for discharge, Aaron sold his Street Glide to save for his family’s uncertain future and has been without his lifeline for almost two years. Hogs For Heroes thought regaining his passion would help smooth out the rough road still ahead of him. Learn more about Aaron’s courageous struggle with life and join us as we hand over his set of keys on September 4 during the Harley-Davidson Hometown Rally. Click here for event details and a PDF flier to print off and post!
#21…GETS 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 story here.
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.
… 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!
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
Veteran 22: Kream