December 2021
ONE BIKE AT A TIME. ONE HERO AT A TIME.
AND WHAT A RIDE IT'S BEEN!

It started in 2014 with a “duh” thud-to-the-forehead idea and became this crazy initiative for our four family members. We were going to tackle something that, shockingly, nobody in the nation was doing: raise funds to buy Harley-Davidson motorcycles to return injured Veteran riders back to the road for the alternative therapy found in riding. With a bike as the tool, the gift would restore freedom, peace, control, pride and joy, and an elusive, supportive brotherhood back into their struggling lives. We focused our efforts on our Wisconsin Veterans; not because we didn’t want to see more positively impacted, but because it was what we could handle. And since we had no idea what in the hell we were doing…we hoped we’d raise enough to gift one Harley a year. That’s where all of you came in to change our course forever.

We raised our first dollar in the spring of 2015; and, with a whole lot of fingers crossed, we asked you to join us on this ride. You more than rose to the occasion. You have supported, attended, donated and brought in more friends to support our growth and inspire us to do more. Right on plan and with you at our sides, we put our first injured Veteran rider back on the road in May, 2016…and just five years later, wrapped up 2021 by reconnecting our 22nd injured Veteran rider with a Harley and their healing passion--with six of them in this year alone!

22…in five years. You have seriously blown our one-a-year-goal out of the water. Every day we’re stunned and grateful for this beautiful ride we never saw coming and for the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

22…it’s not just 22 motorcycles: it represents 22 lives changed—and that of their spouses, families, friends, employers, and communities who all benefit as lives are enhanced. With 90% of our recipients having joined a Veterans riding group, not only have they found supportive brotherhood, but they’ve been able to serve again by addressing the needs of fellow Veterans. When we hand over keys we are, in fact, gifting more than just a motorcycle. 

22…is also, tragically, the number of Veterans who take their lives in suicide every day. Our gift is not an award for service: it is a tool intended to support struggling, at risk lives who are still tormented by their demons and injuries from service.  Sadly, our gift is not a cure…but if it can help reduce the tragic number of Veteran suicides and enhance fragile lives as it does, then we know it’s an intervention worth continuing.

And 22...as in next year, 2022: t will be even bigger, because of you. 

Right now we anticipate gifting EIGHT Harleys to injured Wisconsin Veterans in 2022! UNBELIEVABLE! You put the fuel in our tank—literally and figuratively. Your generous donations makes this happen; and coupled with our commitment to direct 100% of every dollar toward the next Bike and Veteran pairing, every bit adds up for good. We might have to do things a little differently in 2022 to handle this amount of exciting work; but with you at our side, we are up to the challenge. 

Helping one person at a time might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person. Small efforts done collectively with respect, gratitude and compassion absolutely make for great results— we’re a prime example of that. Thank you for sharing with us as you have; and as you evaluate your year-end gifting or look toward planning and sharing in 2022, please consider making our nonprofit the beneficiary of your charitable efforts. We’d be honored to have your support in changing lives with our unique form of therapy…One Bike at a Time. One Hero at a Time. 

Thank you for being on this healing ride with us!  We wish you all the best in the New Year to come—


Kevin and Audra Thompson, Founders
HOGS FOR HEROES
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Catch Who Was In
This Year's Rear View Mirror...
A Tool To Smooth That Rough Road
#22: After completing a harrowing deployment to Afghanistan in 2019, Army Veteran Aaron Kream of Sheboygan, WI returned home with corrosive demons that threatened his life and strained his family, and a Traumatic Brain Injury--all of which fundamentally changed who he was. In the midst of Aaron's fourth re-enlistment, he made the courageous decision to seek help. After 9 years in service and months of intensive therapy, he was medically retired in April 2021. Aaron grew up on dirt bikes. He bought his first bike on his first base to escape and clear his head; and, he made sure he had one on each of his five bases since. His looming discharge forced him to sell his last Harley two years ago to care for his family's financial needs and relocation back to Wisconsin. Putting his family first was the right thing to do, but losing a passion that gave him a mind-clearing freedom hurt. Losing his bike also meant he could no longer be a member of the California Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) he came to rely on for supportive understanding and camaraderie. Settled back in Sheboygan, a town he grew up in, Aaron began civilian life without his bike to soothe the giant hole in his heart and quiet his mind. Hogs For Heroes felt we could ease this man's transition and help smooth out the rough road ahead of him by placing him back on his beloved road.
Making Sure She Stays on Her Healing Path
#21: Ashley Ferg of Waupaca, WI was with the Army National Guard for 16 years, specializing in Chemical Operations. During her years of service, she deployed twice to combat zones-- first in Afghanistan in 2006, and then to Iraq in 2010. Both times she was individually selected and deployed without the known comfort of her Brigade. While in Afghanistan, she was placed with an MP division to run missions on patrol and on convoy. She saw things that can't be unseen, experienced and felt things that can't be forgotten and did things that, in war, can't be undone. All those "things" came together to deeply settle within and create PTSD, whose tenacious grip left her struggling with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for the next 15 years of her life. And unfortunately, for those years still to come. In the peak of her struggle, Ashley mustered up the strength for her second deployment... but when a third became likely, she decided to instead fight for her life and separated from service. One of the best things Ashley did for herself as she began fighting back was to take up riding and buy her first bike. The 30 year-old bike was unreliable, cost more to repair than it was worth and significantly compromised her healing time on the road. Hogs For Heroes thought Ashley's healing path was best supported by keeping her riding and involved in the supportive brotherhood of her CVMA riding family.
A Trike's Stability Keeps Riding in His Life
#20: Vietnam Army Veteran David Ronn of Fond du Lac, WI, enlisted at age 17 in 1967, trained and then deployed three times to Landing Zone English in Bongson from 1968 to 1970 as a Medic. While there he worked daily to triage and provide emergent care to injured brothers brought by helicopter directly from the combat fields. He did what he could to save lives, answer cries and hear the prayers of as many as he could. At age 20 he was discharged to a country who condemned and harassed him and a family who didn't understand him. He spiraled for 40 years filled with guilt, grief and anger that nobody, including the VA, recognized or treated at the time. He drank, fought and floated from job to job. And although he eventually received treatment and support, it was his 40-year love affair with riding that gave him peace and connection. Aging took a toll on Dave's ability to mount and hold up his 34 year old Gold Wing and, unable to afford a trike, it burdened him to think he could no longer ride with his District 2 Legion Rider family. Wanting to assure this Veteran's stable and continued riding, and recognizing the tremendous peace it provides him and those he serves, Hogs For Heroes decided we needed to up his wheels by putting him on a Trike--and his first Harley-Davidson!
Regained Peace & Motivated His Veteran Wife To Ride!
#19: It was the devastation of 9/11 that provided Army Veteran Neal Long of DePere, WI with the direction he'd been searching for. Trained as an MP, he deployed to Iraq three times during a four year period. He advanced quickly as a leader and eventually earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service. But along with the good, war's toll also left him with PTSD. Recognizing the pain within, Neal sought medical care and returned to motorcycling to reclaim the peace and connection riding once provided him. When he and his wife Sarah, a fellow Army MP, welcomed their first child, Neal sold his bike to pay for the larger space needed. Unable to put a bike before his growing family's needs, and without a release, Neal drank to deal with his demons and further isolated himself. Neal's since worked to be both sober and more involved...and although unable to afford a bike, he never gave up the dream of riding again. Learning how far he's come, Hogs For Heroes felt his next healing step involved getting a bike and finding support and involvement in the rider community. Wanting to join CVMA, Neal received his keys following a CVMA 45-3 benefit ride for us; and, Neal patched in shortly that.

Neal's wife Sarah immediately took to his back seat and loved riding. After personally realizing the benefits gained, she took the class and got her endorsement. Her parents, thrilled with the impact the new passion had on her own struggles, surprised Sarah by buying her a preowned Softail Slim. She, too, is now fully patched into the CVMA family.
Found Release and Brotherhood Back in the Saddle
#18:  Wanting only to serve his country, Rick became a Marine; and one year later, volunteered to transfer units to fulfill a critical position need--Artillery Scout and Gunfire Controller. Wanting the fight, he headed to Iraq in 2004 and participated in Operation Phantom Fury--the invasion of Fallujah, and the bloodiest battle of the entire war. His efforts earned him both Commendation and Achievement Medals with Valor...and a lifelong battle with PTSD and his physical wounds from war. Rick's struggle started as soon as he returned stateside. He buried what he could with alcohol and work, and learned to ride as soon as he returned home. His daughters are his world, and when their bathroom required remodeling two years ago, he sold his bike to pay for the project. Finding a release and friends is hard for Rick, and Hogs For Heroes felt that returning wind therapy and social connections to this Sauk County Assistant Veterans Service Officer would help ease his daily fight to care for others and himself. Rick joined CVMA 45-5 this summer for the brotherhood he's been missing. The Tavern League of Wisconsin had been working since March 2020 to raise funds to sponsor a bike; and in the midst of Covid's hard hit to their industry, they still rallied to gift this life-changing ride for Rick.

Shockingly, news of Rick's gifting ceremony was picked up by Fox News who sent a project crew from NYC to record the event and interview our group. They produced an amazing 5 minute segment that was nationally shared on Memorial Day weekend. If you missed THE FOX NEWS SPECIAL the first time around, click here to catch the link!
After Helping Others Ride, It's His Turn to Gain One
#17: Since the sixth grade, Navy Veteran Shannon Flynn of Oconto Falls, WI, has wanted to serve his Country. After retiring with 23 years in, including three deployments to war zones and ongoing service within his community, he can say he's done just that. And every single day he lives with the painful toll it took-- physically, mentally and emotionally--still pushing forward without regrets. He learned to ride on a dare 25 years ago and that immediate love led him to become a motorcycle mechanic. He started repairing and selling as fast as they were done which often left him without a bike and borrowing a friend's just to gain the wind therapy he loved. He eventually opened a shop, but when his service, injuries and financial strains took their ugly toll, he closed and sold his bike to support his family. Borrowing bikes is a hard ask; and while he had many friends who helped, Hogs For Heroes thought it was an ask he shouldn't have to make anymore and decided to support his healing with a permanent presence in his life.

Shannon, whose MOS was a Construction Mechanic First Class, was gifted this bike through the 2020 fundraising efforts of Wisconsin's International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139-- a beautiful and generous connection with our biggest supporter!
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Keep Your 2022 Eyes Peeled:
First Application Period Opens in February

Our first application period will open sometime in February, 2022. Our Advisory Board will select recipients in April and we will start rolling out bikes in May, 2022. A second, shorter application period will open in late spring to accommodate those just learning of our opportunity; and, we will select more to return to the road in the second half of summer.

Right now we anticipate gifting a record-breaking 8 Harleys in 2022. This kind of exciting work will require our small team do things a little differently and, par for our course, figure it out as we go along!

Interested? Head to our website for more information on our "Application & Selection" page. Click on the "Application Process" PDF link: there you can learn more about our qualifying criteria, process and expectations in advance. Only when we officially open our application periods will the actual materials be available to print, complete and mail in.

And remember...submitting your application once a year allows you to be considered for all gifting opportunities that occur in that calendar year without reapplying! Do yourself a favor and get your application in...and do it early!
2022's First Fundraiser!
THIS.
This is pure Wisco winter fun!


Load up however you'd like for any and all of the fun our friends have planned to raise funds for us.

Ice Fishing Tournament --Cash Prizes!
Meat Raffle
50-50 Raffles

Plus, they have amazing food!

Click on the image for the event's PDF.

Cruise on over to enjoy the day and help reconnect one more struggling Veteran with the healing power of the road!
Consider Us as Your Beneficiary!
100% of your donation goes directly to the next Bike for a WI Veteran
Gearing up for another season of riding and want to share your charitable biker hearts with a new nonprofit?
Are you a Wisconsin business looking for its next local charity and want your dollar to stay in Wisconsin? Just feeling grateful and fortunate enough to be able to lift the lives of others? Consider us!

We are a 501(c)(3) WI nonprofit, FEIN #47-2613908. Every single penny of your donation goes straight toward the next Bike & Veteran pairing--100%.

No salaries, overhead, gimmicks, or profit-gaining strategies. Your dollar stays in WI to assist our injured WI Veterans. Our Founding Family covers our few operational expenses so that your full donation goes directly to the next bike. Our Veterans deserve that.


Email us to chat: info@hogsforheroeswi.org or call: 608-228-0026
HOST AN EVENT!

We're good with whatever you think of!
Rides & Poker Runs,
Golf Outings,
Chapter Events,
Birthday Presents to Us,
Raffles,
Booths & Bike Nights,
Tournaments,
Cook-offs,
Family Foundations,
Memoriams,
Concerts,
Shake A Dice,
Bake Sales...

your creative generosity can make a huge difference in another's life!
And remember...
100% of your donation buys nothing but Bike!
Easiest Way EVER to Stretch Your Dollar For Good--
Make your shopping count even more. Buy whatever you or your business needs on AmazonSmile... and we can benefit from a portion of your totals--every time! Same great Amazon everything, made even better by helping others.

Sign up on AmazonSmile.com (their charitable arm), choose Hogs For Heroes Wisconsin to benefit, and simply purchase all your Amazon items through them. Easy as that!
That's our primary way of keeping you all in the know!