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Readers Ride of the Month
Photos by Dave Casperson
I spent 31 years as a career firefighter. Some might have considered me a hero, but not me. I was just a guy who did his job to the best of his ability. Upon retiring in 2012 I purchased a new Firefighters Special Edition Ultra Classic.
October 12th, 2002 was Fire Department, City of New York Memorial Day, that honored the 343 FDNY members who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Performance of Duty at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony was held at Madison Square Garden. I submitted my name to the International Association of Fire Fighters and was selected to be one of the 343 flag bearers to participate in the service.
We gathered in the early morning hours at a downtown street corner. It was a dark, cold, rain filled, dreary day which was eerily appropriate for the day’s event. By the start of the ceremony our Class A uniforms were soaked. I literally shivered thru the entire ceremony from being cold and wet not to mention the solemn atmosphere inside the Garden. To this day I still get chills when the National Anthem is played. This eventually led me to get a custom paint piece dedicated to the FDNY on my bike. Working with Pamela Shanteau of Airbrushing by Pamela a design was finalized.
Tragically prior to beginning that painting a friend and brother firefighter, Nathan Fought was killed in a motorcycle versus tractor accident. Nate was a great young man with a wife and 4 little boys. This tragedy led to an additional memorial portrait for the bike. Finally, the pieces were finished and the bike became a show piece thanks to the amazing work of Pamela. A few years later a fellow MC member passed. His club name was “Slingblade”. Slingblade had a patch with a sword on it that he gave to as many club member as he could. The sword on that patch now adorns my front fender.
To say I’m proud of my memorialized bike would certainly be a gross understatement. Thank you, Pamela, you’re the best. It’s amazing when I participate in bike shows. I stand behind my bike watching everyone steadily walk down the row of bikes and without a doubt the majority of them stop, point and thoroughly look at my bike. This normally leads to conversation about Nate, the FDNY and all the great firefighters across this country.