Harley-Davidson dealership event raises $16,000 for wounded veteran

Motor City H.O.G. raised more than $16,000 during its 8th Annual Wounded America ride to benefit wounded veterans. The fundraiser and ride started at Motor City Harley-Davidson of Farmington Hills, Mich. Help for Our Disabled Troops, an organization benefiting soldiers of modern conflicts, partnered with Motor City H.O.G. The soldier ambassador this year was Ben Eberle, a U.S. Army Sergeant who was wounded Nov. 19th, 2011, by an IED.

The Wounded America Run featured a luncheon and pre-ride event at Motor City Harley-Davidson from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The $15 donation included a BBQ lunch and live music. The pre-ride event featured a silent auction, games and a dunk tank with all proceeds benefitting Eberle. The escorted motorcycle ride departed Motor City Harley-Davidson at 2:30 PM to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn Mich. Attendees could then ride the track at M.I.S. for an additional $10.

Every year, the Motor City H.O.G. Chapter selects a critically wounded Michigan veteran to benefit from its fundraiser, the Wounded America Run. Eberle, from Mio, Mich., a 12B Combat Engineer, was wounded in the Logar Province of Afghanistan. Eberle was a Squad Leader of a Route Clearance Platoon assigned to do patrols that clear supply routes, deny enemy IED emplacement and clear out enemy forces so friendly forces have the freedom of maneuver in the area of operation. While conducting a route clearance patrol, he spotted wires that appeared to be old debris from a previous IED explosion. He cleared everyone out of the way and squatted down to visually inspect the wires to see if there was a pressure plate or command wire nearby. As he stood up, the IED exploded on his right side, sending him in the air, landing 35 meters away from the blast site.

When the call for a medic went out, the Czech Republic Army Infantry was there as the local security and provided an 18D qualified medic. The medic applied tourniquets to both of Eberle’s legs and his right arm. A platoon medic was also on the ground and helped in rendering aid. The medics slowed down his bleeding just enough to transport to the aid station and then flown into FOB Shank. The Czech medic was later awarded the Bronze Star for saving Eberle’s life. Eberle was given 47 units of blood, had both legs amputated above the knee and had extensive damage to the right hand. Once stable enough after surgery, he was flown to Bagram Air Force Base and three days later to Germany. During that six-day time frame, his right hand was amputated.

On Nov. 25, Eberle arrived at Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he is receiving continued care and surgery for his injuries. While recovering in Texas, he has received numerous surgeries to repair a pelvic fracture and other injuries. He awaits additional surgeries to repair a nerve injury in his right shoulder causing the loss of movement from his biceps down and a shoulder dislocation. He is hoping to begin walking by September.

Eberle’s wife, Ashley, gave birth to their daughter, Halle Ray Eberle, on Feb. 16, 2012, at the Brook Army Medical Center. The nurses brought him up to the delivery room in his hospital bed to see his wife give birth.

“Yes this is a change in pace for my life,” Eberle said. “But I have no problem with it. I have my two angels with me, my daughter Halle and my wife Ashley. They are the reason why I'm still here. And they've helped me SO much along the way of recovery. We've had literally THOUSANDS of people write us letters of encouragement and gratitude. We have support from so many people that it feels wrong for just saying thank you, and that's all they want. It has reopened my eyes on why I chose this job as a career at the age of 17. I'm now 24 years old and I realize that I have done this for those great Americans. Those people that fight for the right to stay free. I'm saying thank you to all those that have served, or had a family member that serve and those who stand by our side and support us. Thank you all; you are a true inspiration to all of us. You are the backbone of this country.”

Donations can be sent to Help for Our Disabled Troops, 43540 Six Mile Rd., Northville, MI 48168.

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