Local group donates motorcycle to Wisconsin veteran - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Madison group donates motorcycle to Wisconsin veteran

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MADISON (WKOW) - A Madison organization is coming together to support a Wisconsin veteran. 

The Madison-area group Hogs for Heroes is donating a motorcycle to Army veteran Jon Vandeyacht, from Omro, as a thank you for serving our country.

"I escaped death five times," said Vandeyacht. He served three tours in combat in Iraq. "With the IEDs at any given moment you could blow up and be dead," Vandeyacht told 27 News.

He's lost friends along the way. "I had a truck in front of me that got blown up and the blast rocked ours so bad that it knocked me into tomorrow, that's scary that's the hardest part."

Five years ago, Vandeyacht had to retire after being seriously hurt. "I had the whole left side of my face broken, so I had reconstruction surgery. I have a titanium lower orbital and ten months to the day after that, some guy was on a cell phone and hit me and totaled my bike out and I got medically retired from that," he said.

His story inspired Hogs for Heroes to give him a free motorcycle. Vandeyacht loves bikes, but didn't have one of his own.

"If we could raise the money to put that vet back on the bike we can help them heal, we can help change their life for the better, " said Kevin Thompson, president of the non-profit. 

Scott Panzer donated the bike to thank our veterans for serving the country. "These veterans they do everything for this country and they do it selflessly and I think our ability to give back to them selflessly is what all of this nation should do all the time," Panzer said.

Vandeyacht said the feeling he gets from riding a bike is almost like being back in the Army. "You got the wind around your body, you can feel the temperature change if you go in a low area, you got the sun on ya, you're outside one with the world almost like parachuting, when you're falling before the parachute opens," Vandeyacht said.

Hogs for Heroes raises money in the community to buy Harleys for injured veteran riders. 100 percent of all donations go to buying the next motorcycle.

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