BIKER DAD: Community helps disabled combat vet get back on two wheels

Biker Dad

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It didn’t look like much. It was rusty, dirty, greasy and pulled all apart in every direction. The old Harley Davidson Fat Boy was in pieces on a lift at Mobile Bay Harley Davidson. Only the shiny red tank served as a reminder of the beauty it used to be, long before it the fenders rusted and the belt drive snapped.

But, even though it didn’t look like much, it means everything to 66-year-old Leonard Targett, the career military vet who used to ride it and work on it himself. And that means a lot to the bikers and the dealership who worked to get him back on the road.

Before the bike was on that lift, it was falling apart in front of a trailer at a Mobile RV park. But it turns out that spot in front of Lenny’s trailer at that RV park was the perfect place. It’s why the bike won’t sit there until it rots and rusts into the ground. That’s because of two other people who also live at that RV park. The first, a biker named Casey Stamps. He’s retired too, moved down to Alabama from Michigan to enjoy the warmer weather and the year-round riding season. The other, the brand new parts manager at Mobile Bay Harley Davidson who just moved in down the road, Garret Abney.

Casey saw the bike lying there, broke down, busted, on its way to ruin. He wanted to know the story behind it. Turns out his neighbor was a career military man. Master Sgt. Leonard Targett served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He’s now retired and disabled. And his luck was getting worse. The veteran needed new tires on his old bike. He changed them himself, but the bike quickly broke down…too much tension on the belt drive and it snapped.

He started working on the bike again, trying to get it back on the road himself. Then, he had a heart attack… and a stroke while working on it. Both of his new tires also have nails in them. Now, unable to fix it himself, the bike seemed destined for a scrap heap.

Casey wasn’t going to let that happen. He wanted to help, and he just knew other bikers would want to help as well. He called Garrett at Mobile Harley. For the dealership, it was a no-brainer.

“We immediately jumped at the chance to actually give back to a vet. A lot of these guys deserve to get some help from time to time because they’ve given so much. They’ve given pieces of their body, and mental issues too,” Garrett said. Mobile HD agreed to donate the labor needed to get the Fat Boy roadworthy again, and help get the disabled vet back in the wind.

Casey is asked that other bikers help cover the cost of the parts needed, about $600. The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association stepped up and made that happen.

“We immediately jumped at the chance to actually give back to a vet. A lot of these guys deserve to get some help from time to time because they’ve given so much. They’ve given pieces of their body, and mental issues too,” Garrett said.

Bikers call it “wind therapy.” The feeling you get when you ride often seems like it does us more good than all the drugs or doctors in the world. And soon, Master Sgt. Targett to his prescription filled thanks to Casey, Garrett, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and other bikers.

Friday, the biker was fixed, complete and looking like new. Len was presented the bike at Mobile Bay Harley where the bikers who came together to get his motorcycle put back together gathered to present it to him, and thank him for his service.

“There are angels among us,” he said, as he fired the bike up for the first time. He’s still recovering from his medical issues so it will be months before he can take it for a spin. In the meantime he’ll fire it up and sit on it listing to the engine and the music, “it sounds so good.”

And the road doesn’t end here. Mobile Bay Harley, Combat Vets, and their supporters plan to get at least one vet back on the road every year. Stay tuned for that.

Enjoy, and be careful out there brother!

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Chris Best is the News Director for WKRG. He’s a husband and father of four. He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast.

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