Custom made motorcycles for wounded veterans

MEDFORD, Ore. — Two local organizations are helping wounded combat veterans transition back into normal life.

Combat Hero Bike Build is a non-profit organization that builds custom motorcycles for wounded heroes.  It’s a national program with a portion of the work being done locally by volunteers.

The organization, which started in 2013 by co-founder John Barker, has built 11 customized bikes for veterans who’ve lost their arms and legs.

“We’re seven years later building these motorcycles customized just for these vets,” said Barker.

Barker said with 22 veteran suicides a day, the motorcycles help give the veterans piece of mind.

“It’s a sense of freedom — it represents freedom,” said Barker. “You’re out there riding, the wind in your face, we call it wind therapy, and you’re concentrating on that and enjoying yourself and the demons go away,” he said.

The program has only two builders with one on the east coast and one in Medford. Mark Daley with ThunderStruck Custom Bikes is working on the program’s 12th motorcycle. The bike will be gifted to Rogue Valley Veteran Jed Morgan.

“He’s missing both of his legs on the bottom and I know his right hand for sure is hurt too,” said Daley.

Daley adds in customized features to fit each veterans personal needs with even some style.

“We put some 12-inch wheels on it,” said Daley.

Since each bike is custom made, Barker said they’re all unique.

“All they wanna do is just do what their buddies are doing— out riding motorcycles and we give them a nice safe bike that they can really show off,” said Barker.

Barker said each bike cost them between $45,000 to $75,000. 11 more veterans are on the waiting list to receive a bike of their own.

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