NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Every day, at least 22 veterans lose their battle to suicide.
It’s a statistic that many are fighting to end including those at Biker Bay in North Fort Myers. The group was hit personally with the loss of Chief Warrant Officer Nick Fogle. These bikers are on a mission.
“Stop 22. Help our veterans.”
A mission to help bring an end to the 22 veterans who lose their battle to suicide every day.
“I’m just blown away by the number- 22 a day,” says Clint ‘Lucky’ Mills, owner of Biker Bay a local, one-stop shop for motorcycle enthusiasts. For years… he — alongside his fellow bikers — has been hosting rides like this one all with the same purpose.
“There’s nothing like the biking community,” he says. “We come together for all kinds of causes and this is a big one to us.”
Sunday’s ride is in the memory of Chief Warrant Officer Nick Fogle, who passed away on July 6. Fogle was an 18-year active veteran serving 7 tours in the last 4 years as a helicopter pilot. He’s survived by his wife and three children.
“My daughter-in-law called me very upset,” said Mills. “That night I actually started putting together the flyer, started reaching out to some of my people. Doing that kind of stuff.”
What Mills got was quite a turnout from the motorcycle community.
“We can’t have it win anymore,” says Kent Wildfeuer, a veteran and Southwest Florida Ambassador for Independent Motorcyclist Association. “We need to win the battle.”
A battle that some of these riders are all too familiar with. But each one of them connected with the desire to bring an end to veteran suicide.
“We’re family,” said Wildfeuer. “It’s like any organization you have, no matter if it’s in the civilian world or military world or motorcycle world- the bike creates the family. And for PTSD or anything that you ride for, it’s critical that you want to get that out.”
Proceeds from Sunday’s ride will be going to Officer Fogle’s family. In the meantime, this family will continue doing what they do best and that’s fighting for one another.
“If you are struggling, get out there,” said Mills. “Get with a group of people. If you ride a motorcycle, there is a huge veteran presence within the motorcycle community. Get with a group, go on some rides, and get some wind therapy. Clear your mind and let us help.”
An online memorial has been created in honor of Officer Fogle. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help support Fogle’s family.