• July 12, 2014

Former Army sergeant inspired to build modified motorcycle for disabled veteran

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:30 am

When James Whitaker woke up at 3 a.m. after a dream a few weeks ago, he grabbed a piece of paper and started scribbling what he remembered — orders from an Army officer telling him to build a modified motorcycle for a disabled comrade.

“Whether they have a hand missing or a leg, both legs, I have to build a bike that will fit them (so) they can ride,” said Whitaker, a former Army sergeant who was medically retired after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The next day, he went to his shop, Pakrat Customs, and sent emails to all his contacts, vendors and anyone he thought might help.

Whitaker said he sent out his email to about 2,000 people.

Twenty minutes after sending the email, someone donated a $1,200 engine for the bike and within 24 hours, Whitaker said he got about 150 responses from people eager to assist him.

“This is not something I’m doing for fame or for glory. I’m not doing it for money,” Whitaker said. “I’ve been given a mission and, in order to complete this mission, I have to get help from people all across the country because that’s the way it was told to me.”

While he’s still in the early planning stages, Whitaker said he hasn’t identified a soldier, but he’s working with the local Wounded Warrior Project to pick the perfect recipient.

“They’ve been working with me to make sure we have everything that we need, like personality type and color,” he said.

Although he said he still needs more parts and hasn’t started any major labor on the bike, his goal is to complete it by Christmas Eve.

“It should be done before then, but that’s the deadline,” he said.

To keep up with Pakrat Customs’ efforts to make a motorcycle for a wounded warrior, go to www.pakratcustoms.com/news.

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