Local non-profit helps veterans with PTSD through motorcycle the - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Local non-profit helps veterans with PTSD through motorcycle therapy

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Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News 

The wind rushes past your face, you can feel the rumble of the engine under you.

You’re out on the open road, riding a motorcycle, with nothing else on your mind.

For Eric Bayley, it’s an escape.

"I was in the Army Reserve for 18 years from 1998 to 2015,” Bayley said.

15 years as a combat veteran doesn't come without baggage, he said.

But with motorcycle therapy and the camaraderie it's brought, he said dealing with those issues is so much easier.

"It's like a support group,” Bayley said. “I’ve met a lot of great people and anybody in these org I can call any time of day 24/7 and they'd be there for me."

But he wouldn't have that without Wheels For Warriors USA.

It's a non–profit that provides veterans with motorcycles and mentorship that started with the goal of reducing veteran suicide rates.

"They turn to motorcycles as a way of getting back together with fellow vets,” Jesse Cunningham, with the organization said. “It's a therapy, getting out and riding, it takes a singular focus, so when they're going through something and get out on the road, its therapy."

They've given away five bikes so far.

Including Bayley's which he got in March.

"Very emotional, it's very nice that programs like this exist for vets like us,” Bayley said.

But this is only the beginning. Another bike will be given away June 9.

That bike is being completely rebuilt, by an SCC student, Josh Atanasu.

He saw a giveaway and felt compelled to help.

"It has a special connection to me because I'm a veteran myself, and suffer from some symptoms of being a combat veteran so it going to another veteran, just having that connection with him and it goes a little deeper I guess with me,” Atanasu said.

But the connection goes even beyond that, Cunningham said.

"The bike came to us from California from a veteran with a traumatic injury,” Cunningham said. “He donated the bike with the intent it goes to a vet."

Atanasu said it'll make the nearly 200 hours that will go into the bike worth it.

"Knowing it will help them in long run and with the way that vet suicide is it happens 22 times a day, so if riding a bike, even if it helps one person,” Atanasu said. “It's a great benefit."

That  motorcycle will be given away at the Big Red Challenge on June 9, information on that event is here: https://bigredchallenge.com/

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