Indian Motorcycle and Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis has announced that veterans Corporal Joshua Stein, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Corporal Neil Frustaglio, U.S. Marines (Ret.), have been named as the honorary “Hero’s Ride of a Lifetime” selectees. The two heroes will pilot an Indian Scout Avenger Sidecar with modifications made by John Meade, owner of Azzkikr Custom Baggers, and his veteran employees in Phoenix, Arizona.
The two post-9/11 veteran heroes were chosen from over 50 total entries in a nomination program that called upon friends and family members to submit deserving veterans for an once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle therapy adventure.
The two heroes will pilot an Indian Scout Avenger Sidecar rig will be outfitted with a Rekluse Clutch, which eliminates the need to pull the clutch handle for shifting, a hand shift mechanism so the amputee rider can shift the bike manually, and the rear brake system will be moved and adapted to a hand brake on the left handlebar. The Scout will be complete with a custom Corbin seat to provide extra comfort and seating area for the long journey.
Corporal Joshua Stein, U.S. Army (Ret.) joined the Army in February of 2005 as a 12B Combat Engineer, and was deployed to Iraq in December. On Easter Sunday of 2006, Josh and his team were struck by an Explosively Formed Penetrator bomb that blasted through their armored Bradley vehicle and immediately severed and cauterized both of Steins’s legs. Doctors in Iraq prioritized limb salvage, saving both his arms, and transported him back to the U.S., where he eventually woke up out of a medically induced coma with his family surrounding him a the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas. Following a long battle, and significant rehabilitation, Josh found a purpose at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) from which he’ll be graduating in Phoenix, Arizona on July 7, 2017.
Stein’s best friend, Corporal Neil Frustaglio, US Marines (Ret.) joined the Marines right after graduating high school and was deployed in September of 2005 with his unit to Ramadi, Iraq. While on a mission providing security during the Iraqi elections, Frustaglio’s convoy sustained two massive IED explosions. As a result of the blasts, Frustaglio lost both of his legs above the knee and received third-degree burns to twenty percent of his body, forcing him to undergo 24 surgeries and intense physical therapy at the young age of twenty-two. In a significant effort to turn around his life, support his family and maintain a regular life, Frustaglio went back to work and eventually to school. He graduated in December 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in Communications from Arizona State University. Frustaglio grew up riding motorcycles and was constantly on a bike before his injury.
“We’re extremely excited for this year’s ride to Sturgis. We have a great group of veterans joining us, and each and every year is special in its own right,” said David Frey, Veterans Charity Ride Founder. “Our Hero’s Ride of a Lifetime selectees, Josh and Neil, know a thing or two about resiliency. It’ll be incredible to witness two above-the-knee bi-lateral amputees push and motivate one another half way across the country as they trade off riding an Indian Scout Avenger Sidecar. That indomitable spirit and nature will be powerful for our entire group of veterans.”
The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis will depart from Los Angeles on July 28, on Indian Motorcycles and Champion Sidecars. The therapeutic adventure provides participating veterans the opportunity to work toward overcoming their post-war challenges while out on the open road. Riding through the most scenic back roads of the western United States, veterans will not only experience the great outdoors and the beauty this country has to offer, but also make stops to meet with other veterans, supporters, riders, and participate in various adjacent adventures. Upon arrival in Sturgis on August 5, the group will be treated to a special “Heroes Welcome” before taking part in a week of activities that further solidify the brotherhood and sisterhood formed during the ride.