Central Florida’s motorcycle and veterans communities will bond together this weekend for a charity bike run designed to help a wounded veteran.
Ride organizer John Stalzer with One Is Too Many served in the War on Terror and knows returning can be difficult for servicemembers as they try to adjust to life back home and as a civilian.
“I made it through some rough times,” Stalzer told Florida Daily. “One of my very close friends did not. Just a couple of years ago he took his own life. If I have the opportunity to avoid that, that is all the thanks I need.”
The ride will begin at Horsepower Ranch in Geneva at 3pm on Sunday and end an hour later at Seminole Harley Davidson in Sanford. It’s all to benefit Patrick Wickens who lost his right leg in an RPG attack in Iraq in 2004.
Steve Shuman of the Asphalt and Iron riding club says he has the highest respect for Wickens.
“He is going to struggle for the rest of his life in the sacrifice that he made for the rest of us here that are getting to enjoy what we are doing. So, this run is 100 percent about Patrick,” Shuman said.
Wickens told event organizers his initial reaction to the ride was to give most of the money to charities like One is Too Many. He also shared what he sees as the problems veterans have when they come back home.
“There are tons of groups out there for veterans. Awareness is key, but just getting them out and getting them active is the number one thing though,” Wickens said.
Shuman convinced Wickens otherwise and proceeds from the ride will go to help Wickens, a stay at home dad, raise his kids, perhaps go back to school and possibly fulfill his dream of owning his own motorcycle.
“He can’t go backwards, so we want the biker community and the Central Florida community to reach out and recognize this young man. He’s got a great personality. He’s very humble. He is very deserving of all of us doing what we can to help him out,” Shuman said.
More information on the Central Florida Wounded Vet Run can be found here.
Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.