The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis may have come to an end, but the experience lives on for the vets. For one veteran, receiving a pair of Bates Boots for the ride had a very special meaning. Marine Sgt. Richard Silva talked with us about the how the Veterans Charity Ride saved his life and how Bates Boots saved his leg.

“When I was given the chance to attend Sturgis this year with the VCR, I just thought, what a great opportunity! I actually met Dave through a mutual friend, Jedd Morgan, a former Marine and double amputee. When I first got into contact with the VCR and Dave, I had just undergone kidney surgery and was going through a tough time. Having ridden motorcycles all my life, Dave made the decision to nominate me for the Moto-Dono Program, which is another branch of the VCR. The Veteran Motorcycle Donation Program allows industry partners and the general public to donate new and used motorcycles and ATVs to the VCR and receive a tax deduction. VCR refurbishes and modifies the motorcycles/atvs and gifts them to deserving veterans. However, this was a complete shock to me.”

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“Dave informed me that I was going to meet Jay Leno at his garage and I could bring my family with me. This was already exciting news and I was happy to have the chance to meet Jay in person. After meeting Jay and taking a tour of his incredible facility, we walked up to a Can-Am Spider that turned out to be a gift for me. I was absolutely speechless.

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“The Veterans Charity Ride is unlike any other organization. Without a doubt they have saved my life, in every sense of the word. I’m more confident and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I’ve been in situations with organizations in the past where after an event is over the good feeling fades, but not with Dave and Sue, they treat you like family. Dave and everyone at the VCR constantly keep in touch and check up on you after every event, so you never feel alone and that makes all the difference to a veteran.”

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“I was with Dave in Las Vegas for Well-Vet, a Veteran Health and Wellness Program, when we started talking about the Ride to Sturgis. I remember Dave telling me that Bates was going to be the sponsored footwear for the ride and I just couldn’t believe it. I told Dave the story about my special relationship with the brand.”

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“Bates Boots are a very familiar to me, I was wearing a pair of them in Fallujah, Iraq. The date was August 17, 2004 and I was at a Tactical Check Point or (TCP) when mortars landed and peppered my body. My back, right knee and torso had been riddled with shrapnel. Another wounded Marine needed my help and I laid my body on top of his when another mortar landed and hit the heel of my Bates Boots, but did not penetrate them. Thanks to Bates Boots I avoided shrapnel from hitting my heel, thus saving my leg. When I learned that I would have the honor of wearing Bates again on my ride to Sturgis, it felt like it was meant to be and my journey had come full circle.”

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“From wearing Bates when I was wounded, to wearing them now, I have to almost laugh at how far I’ve come. I mean, I remember specifically looking down that day at the boots and thinking, it’s the only part of me that isn’t hit! I received the Made in the Usa Freedom Boot and I love it.”

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“Riding with the Freedom Boots, even with my implant, they felt so lightweight. I used to wear Doc Martens, which were so heavy in comparison. I also really like the colors they use. It’s very patriotic. Bates is a brand that is very near and dear to me and I’m just thankful to be a part of this journey.”

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Richard’s story is truly inspiring and we at Bates Footwear have decided to make him our newest Bates Ambassador! We look forward to seeing where Richard’s boots will take him next! A special note to Dave Frey and the VCR for all of their incredible work in making a difference in the lives of our veterans. For more information on how you can help / donate to the Veterans Charity Ride Foundation- Click Here.

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