Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orange County Choppers unveil The Freedom Bike

Celebrity bike builder: Paul Teutul Sr. of Orange County Choppers paid a visit Wednesday to Fort Ritchie, Md., to unveil The Freedom Bike, a chopper his shop built specifically for the National Fallen Heroes Memorial. The Freedom Bike cost $150,000.

Then came the star of the show, Paul Teutul Sr., riding a custom-made chopper he created for a planned National Fallen Heroes Memorial near Frederick, Md.
Teutul has been at the forefront of “Orange County Choppers” for more than 10 years. Teutul began building custom motorcycles on the side as a hobby, and in 1999, he founded the world-famous Orange County Choppers.

Teutul and his work can be viewed on the reality series “American Chopper.”
The National Fallen Heroes Memorial is being planned as a tribute to deceased men and women from five branches of the military.

Memorial project founder Debbie Higgins said she met Teutul at a veterans event in Florida. Higgins said she and Teutul worked out a deal to have a custom chopper built that the memorial could use as a fundraiser.

Higgins said Teutul built the bike at his shop in Newburgh, N.Y. Higgins took the stage after Teutul arrived, describing how he “bent over backwards” to aid the memorial project.
Teutul said it was an honor to make the bike.

The bike was then moved closer to the crowd so Teutul could describe its features. Teutul walked around the bike, pointing out features like two ammo boxes on either side. Henson said he came to the event because of Teutul and the planned memorial. Vietnam War veteran Gerald Flood of Waynesboro, Pa., talked to Higgins after the bike was presented and told her about Vietnam veterans not getting the support that other veterans have received.

Although the walls will not bear the names of Vietnam War veterans, the museum will spotlight that war, Higgins said.
Higgins said work to develop the memorial comes after her son, James Higgins Jr., was shot and killed in Iraq four days before coming home in 2006.

A motorcycle designer, a mother of a fallen Marine and about 500 supporters flocked to Fort Ritchie on Wednesday afternoon to help raise awareness and money for the future National Fallen Heroes Memorial in Frederick.

Deborah Higgins, mother of Lance Cpl. James Higgins, has been working since 2007 to create a national memorial for those who died serving their country post-Vietnam. Higgins has secured land for the memorial, which will be on U.S. 15 just north of Frederick. "If everybody in America donated a dollar, we could build this memorial now," she said before the motorcycle unveiling. The memorial will sit on 18 acres, with 35 more acres for military burials adjacent to Resthaven Memorial Gardens, which donated five acres to the memorial.