Johnny Lange and his partner, Jay Barbieri of Strip Club Choppers are packing up for another Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. You will find them again this year at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. I get their monthly news updates that usually include promotion of their upcoming events and franchise opportunities. But like most true bikers, Johnny and Jay are also big-hearted and patriotic, and like to show their appreciation to combat veterans. Photo by Jim Dohms/Daytona Bike Week 2011... Read this by Johnny.
"A couple of weeks ago an old friend of mine contacted me and asked me if I had parts available in flat black and without hesitation my inner salesman kicked in and I proceeded to give him the available product inventory. We chatted for a while and I quickly learned that he was upgrading a Harley for his nephew who was currently serving his third tour in Afghanistan after two successful tours in Iraq. And when I say successful, I guess that means still alive and well.
"I told him I had to leave town and would get him some stuff at my cost before Sturgis and didnt give it much more thought because I was so self absorbed in preparing for all the activities I have scheduled in Sturgis.
"Things changed dramaticlly for these young men, when on July 12th Lance Cpl Robert S Greninger of Greenfield, Minnesota was killed conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. Cpl Greninger served alongside my friend's nephew SSgt Chris Shranko and saved the lives af many of his fellow soldiers with his actions that cost him his life.
"When I was informed of this I began to think about all the young men and women who pay the ultimate price for us to enjoy all the freedoms we take for granted in this country. The freedom to take a summer vacation, the freedom to fly on an airplane, the freedom to attend a motorcycle event. And I know its a cliche, but Frredom is not free. It cost this young man who was just begining his life, his future.
"You may not personally know anyone who is serving but everyone over there is someone's son or daughter mother or father so the next time you see someone in uniform remember the reason you were able to go to the movies last night is because they paid the ultimate price to keep us free. You may not agree with the politics or the administration that is in office but these young men and women don't have time to concern themselves with that. They are too busy sacrificing their lives so you can enjoy yours.
"Obviously I felt the need to do something more so I will be donating all the parts for the bike as well as sending a care package of SCC swag to Afghanastan for the entire unit, which seems so inconsequential when compared to the sacrifices these men and women are making who serve in every branch of the military.
"I am not going to do my usual shameless self promotion at the end of this month's article suffice to say it just doesn't seem appropriate." - from the road, Johnny Lange - SSC.
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