Comedian and host of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay Leno, will serve as honorary chairman for Veterans Charity Ride and its new year-round motorcycle therapy program.
Leno first became involved with the organization during its inaugural ride last year when he hosted veterans at his garage in Los Angeles. The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis kicked off again on Saturday, July 30. Leno, a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, will support the veterans as they ride from Los Angeles to the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. The ride provides motorcycle therapy to veterans as an outlet for post-traumatic stress (PTS) and other challenges associated with assimilation back to civilian life.
“This is the second year I’ll be supporting the Veterans Charity Ride, and I’ve already learned so much from interacting with these courageous men and women,” said Leno. “I’m very thankful to be part of such a worthwhile and life-changing event with heroes who share my passion for cars and motorcycles.”
In addition to Leno, actor Mark Wahlberg, another motorcycle enthusiast, has shared his support for Veterans Charity Ride. This year, Wahlberg created a personal greeting video, as well as a series of videos, announcing his support of the program and showing his gratitude to veterans for their service.
"I’m so inspired by the brave men and women I’ve met through Veterans Charity Ride, and it has been an incredible experience to work alongside them on such a great cause," said Wahlberg.
Joining the veterans for the launch at LA. City Fire Station #77, 9224 Sunland Blvd, Sun Valley CA 91352 on Saturday was Danny Trejo, iconic actor, motorcycle enthusiast and veteran supporter.
"I am honored to be at the launch of the Veterans Charity Ride. These veterans have given so much to this country, and I am happy to support them as they take off for this life-changing ride," said Trejo.
Founded by veteran Army paratrooper Dave Frey and Emmy-award-winning director Robert Manciero, Veterans Charity Ride, along with main sponsor Indian Motorcycle, treats veterans to the ride of a lifetime. During the 1,776-mile ride through the western United States, the participating wounded and amputee veterans not only ride together but also come together to share their experiences with one another. The ride ultimately serves as a mechanism for them to begin to heal, de-stress and find emotional balance through the brotherhood of riding. Recently designated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Veterans Charity Ride will broaden its commitment to veterans with year-round support as an outlet for their stress, and create a way for them to bond with other veterans.
"As a veteran, I’ve used riding motorcycles as a way to alleviate stress for years. Many veterans, especially today’s younger veterans, suffer from PTS and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and they need a positive outlet to help them cope," said Dave Frey, founder of Veterans Charity Ride. “Motorcyclists will tell you that riding isn’t just a hobby; it’s an experience that deeply impacts you. I realized that motorcycle therapy could be that positive experience for veterans.”
Several veterans who have suffered traumatic amputations will also participate in the ride. They will ride Indian Motorcycles with sidecars donated by Champion Sidecar. The sidecars the iconic journey to Sturgis possible for riding enthusiasts who can no longer operate traditional motorcycles without modification, including veteran Marine Sean Carroll, who will join the ride for a second year as a mentor.
This year, the ride will make six stops, including Las Vegas and Denver, before arriving in Sturgis for the weeklong rally and its festivities. During the rally, the veterans will partake in the ultimate Sturgis experience, which includes riding as special guests during the Buffalo Chip’s Freedom Celebration Ride.
Sponsorship and support for Veterans Charity Ride is provided this year by Indian Motorcycle, Monster Energy, Champion Sidecars, Lexus, Liberty Sport, Nordic Components, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Cycle Gear, WASPcam, Branigan Communications, WhiteHeart Foundation and Resurgence Jeans.
For more information about Veterans Charity Ride, click here.