By Eric Dehm
Philanthropist. Motorcycle enthusiast. Biker celebrity.
Just a few of the many “titles” that apply to Adam Sandoval. But there’s one title that does not apply, and it’s one of his biggest regrets… “Veteran.”
Sandoval points to “poor choices, temptation, and bad decisions” in his younger years as to why he didn’t serve in the military. Many of his friends did serve, and as he got older, regret settled in… big time.
“I had (military) friends coming home who were looking at retirement and I had other friends who didn’t make it home,” Sandoval tells ConnectingVets.com. “I really missed my opportunity to do my part and I had to come up with a way to make up for that.
“That’s when I started riding for charity, mainly riding with the Wounded Warrior Project and now teaming up with Harley-Davidson for Mission: Thank You.”
Through Mission: Thank You, Sandoval and Harley-Davidson have provided five free “Milwaukee 8” motorcycles to nominated vets, including USMC purple heart recipient/professional MMA fighter Shane Kruchten and Army vet/Firefighter Charles Swank.
Sandoval recently presented the fifth of the eight bikes to retired USAF medic Lisa Benjamin at Alamo City Harley-Davidson in San Antonio. He says Benjamin’s efforts to give back to the veteran community made her an obvious selection.
“She’s a medic and medics by nature are there to help,” Sandoval says. “I know she’s gonna use that Harley to get out there and help so many more people, which is what she was born and bred to do.”
There are still three more bikes to be given away and Sandoval encourages everyone to visit the Mission: Thank You website to nominate yourself or another vet, deserving of a brand new Harley-Davidson.
For his part, Sandoval says when this project is over, he’ll move on to finding another way to help the veteran community and continuing what he says is his life’s work of giving to the veteran community he respects so much.