LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Local Veterans are on the road to healing and they’re putting on helmets and hopping on two wheels to get there, as motorcycles are being used as a therapy tool.
Veteran Sandy Spangler says he served in the United States Army in 1969 through 1971, he also fought in Vietnam.
“I went in the army in ’69 and got out in ’71, I was in Vietnam in ’70 and ’71,” said Spangler.
Spangler says although a lot of time has gone by since then, riding motorcycles still helps him deal with the trauma during that time.
“It really has helped me to think through some of the things that have been difficult to process even 50 years after being in the military,” said Spangler.
Spangler is a member of Rock City Harley Davidson Central Arkansas’ Hog Group, Combat Veterans, and Patriot Guard. His road name is ‘Preacher’ he says he and other Veterans ride motorcycles for the same reason.
“If you served in the military then it’s kind of like a brotherhood riding motorcycles is similar,” said Spangler.
20 year Air Force Veteran, Brian ‘Smokey’ Wall fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and is also a part of Combat Veterans. He says it’s not just riding on motorcycles that helps him overcome difficult times but also leaning on his fellow Veterans on and off the road.
“I think all of us that have served especially in combat deal with it in some form or fashion,” said Wall.
4 year Army Veteran, Joseph Little says he works with and rides motorcycles which doing both has given him a sense of calm.
“It helps me have tunnel vision and block everything out which is a relief from some of the things that are going on inside my head so freedom is the biggest thing,” said Little.
They all say they want to help their fellow Veterans and if they would like to reach out to them it doesn’t have to be by them getting on a bike.
“If they’re having issues like PTSD, mental issues, whatever there’s been a long standing stigma that there’s a weakness to ask for help and a lot of people have worked really hard to squash that mentality because it really isn’t a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength,” said Wall.
To contact The Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs you can call (501) 683-2382.
For Veteran Motorcycle Organizations you can go to the Rock City Harley Davidson Central Arkansas’ Hog Group, The Patriot Guard, Combat Veterans.