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A Letter From Our Rider:

Dear Family & Friends:

Today, our warriors are battling an enemy of terror that does not wear a uniform . Imagine having a life where everything is routine one moment and within a second, your way of life is forever changed. The physical impact is what we see, but they also must deal with the mental, emotional, and relational stress that is not visible to others. Even the will to live.

But that compassion and gratitude transcends not only those wounded in battle. It includes those who served, voluntarily, whether in combat or in other roles, which have contributed to the non-penetrable framework of our freedom’s defense. The defense that defines the moral compass pointing to the values, freedom and democracy laid out in our Constitution, which we enjoy every day. What about those who served, who were part of that framework and have experienced significant personal setbacks in their lives post service? Those whose mobility has been impaired and may NOT be covered by VA benefits? We have not forgotten you!

Our nation provides VA loans for house mortgages because you were/are a veteran. Our nation provides the GI bill for on-going education, because you were/are a veteran. But the VA medical benefits begin to wane when a former vet suffers from a disease that incapacitates them, is in a paralyzing car accident, or a number of other life events that can affect their ability to function in this world. That’s where private organizations must step in!

I have a heart for our wounded veterans because I was 7 when my brother Mark was killed by a mortar round in Vietnam and had it not been a direct hit, he would have experienced long-lasting physical challenges – for the rest of his life. I have a heart for those who have been wounded in battle, but I also have a heart for those who serve and were injured after their selfless years of service.

Mark was the brother who first started riding motorcycles and introduced his love of them to the family. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful day we lost Mark and is the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 – so in memory of Mark and his love of motorcycles, I am racing a motorcycle, solo, in the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 off road race . The significance of the anniversary for the race and Mark’s passing is a connection I could not ignore. I’ve been racing motorcycles for over 35 years and for me, racing 40 hours straight in the Mexican desert will push this 56 year old beyond my limits both physically and mentally. It is symbolic of the physical pain and mental anguish our wounded veterans have felt and will have to endure their entire lives. Mine will pass, theirs will continue.

I am doing this to raise awareness of our often forgotten group of heroes who face mobility challenges and for the Stand for Vets / The Mark Hodel Veteran’s Foundation. I am hoping you will share in this struggle with your generous donation to Stand for Vets so we can both positively change lives, one life at a time.

With Profound Gratitude,

John Hodel
President, Stand for Vets / The Mark Hodel Veteran’s Foundation

BY: JOHN HODEL  /  Founder + President