STURGIS S.D. (KOTA TV) – At 19 Neil Hultman joined the famous Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, he rode his Indian Chief bike everywhere — leading tours through the black hills and promoting the Sturgis hill climb and half-mile race Events that would one day become cornerstones to the rally we know today.
“Much bigger than anything I’ve ever thought about- I didn’t realize it would ever come to this. I really appreciate it. It’s a fun thing that I’ll never forget,” says Neil Hultman the honoree.
The city of Sturgis wants to make sure no one forgets Hultman and the part he played in creating the rally we know today.
“Every year I try to honor Neil just by what he’s done. Just by being a part of Sturgis over the years- let alone the Sturgis motorcycle rally. This is special to give him the day and to bring these people together,” says Mark Carstensen the mayor of Sturgis.
Hultman still has a passion for motorcycles — and black hills rides.
“Bikers are human beings and they enjoy life outside and you won’t find a better place to ride a motorcycle than in the black hills of South Dakota,” says Hultman.
Motorcycle Club and Army National Guard Members Help Clean, Paint Building for Veterans
STOCKTON – There are more than 300 homeless veterans in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties according to the Army National Guard. Dignity’s Alcove in Stockton helps at least 42 of those veterans a day and Friday, over their boots, uniforms and camouflage, men and women with the Army National Guard and Combat Vets Motorcycle Association helped paint and clean Dignity’s Alcove’s building.
“If you served your country, you shouldn’t be forgotten, and you should be afforded every opportunity necessary to get you back on your feet,” said Sgt. Ryan Casperson, with the Army National Guard.
Julie Moralez, executive director of Dignity’s Alcove, says her organization helps house dozens of homeless veterans at a time.
“It’s home for them, for at least 18 months, so our goal is to get them back on their feet and in their own place,” said Morales.
It’s a place Navy veteran Clementh Johnson has called “home” for the past 16 months.
He says it has helped him mentor young people.
“They need guidance and if they could see someone that’s been through it, maybe they will have a chance to not to go through it and be a lot more successful,” Johnson said.
Johnson says his life hasn’t always been so charmed, before he was staying at Dignity’s Alcove, he was behind bars, serving time for identity theft.
Johnson served aboard the USS Joulett with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War.
When he was discharged, Johnson says he struggled with PTSD and abused drugs and alcohol to cope.
“You end up getting involved in some wrong things and I think it had a lot to do with going to war,” stated Johnson.
He says it wasn’t until he turned 51 years old while sitting in a jail cell he realized he needed to turn his life around.
“It woke me up,” Johnson expressed.
The work here isn’t just about renovation; volunteers say this is to show veterans that there are people who still care.
“It’s all about helping the vets, getting them off the street, and getting back into society,” said Larry “Mad Dog” Bell with the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association.
Organizers say they are always looking for donations and volunteers; if you’d like to help, contact Dignity’s Alcove at (209) 465-4066.