- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Six veterans have gotten a big surprise in Florida.

The vets thought they were simply taking part in a press conference Thursday announcing a partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project and Harley-Davidson.

But during the event, they were given brand-new motorcycles.

Bill Davidson - the great-grandson of company co-founder Will Davidson - and managing director Christian Walters rode to the presentation on two of six new Harleys.

“This is a great day and a very special day and we couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership,” Davidson told the veterans.



“We want to say thank you - thank you for your service, thank you for your personal sacrifices. You have protected our country and you have preserved our freedom.”

Organizers say all of the veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and had been avid motorcycle riders, but gave up their bikes due to various hardships. They had all been involved with the Wounded Warriors Project, which is collaborating with Harley-Davidson to develop motorcycle-themed programs for veterans.

Kyle Evans, an eight-year Army veteran injured in 2007 in Iraq, told the Florida Times-Union (https://goo.gl/qqOiPX ) that the new bike will help him regain some of the freedom he had.

“There’s a tremendous amount of appreciation and I am grateful for all the support of the people around here,” Evans said.

“There is no feeling such as the open road and the sense of freedom. It is a chance to get to yourself, get your thoughts together, regroup and move forward.”

___

Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, https://www.jacksonville.com

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