Kevin McLaughlin knows a good motorcycle when he sees one, but there are a few features on these that make them more than just bikes. His son, Scott, is one of the 42 Vermont soldiers being honored on two overhauled motorcycles-- each one of the stars on the bikes represents a fallen soldier. Scott McLaughlin made the ultimate sacrifice for our country when he was killed in 2005 in the global war on terror.
"Ramadi, Ramadi, Iraq, he was shot by a sniper on his observation post," Kevin McLaughlin said.
Students in the Department of Corrections high school program worked on overhauling the bikes for the past eight months.
"These are two incredible custom bikes," said Dana Lesperance of Community High School. "They have some of the best technology out there they're very unique."
Each year, the completed projects are donated to charities as fundraisers. These are being given to Vermont Fallen Families.
"It brought a whole new dimension to the build because there was a whole new purpose," Lesperance said. "Forty-two offenders learned job skills because of this build."
But those young offenders also learned other lessons.
"We don't want to forget those who are serving and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice," Lesperance said.
And for many people who will never forget, like McLaughlin, they hope these bikes serve to keep all of the fallen heroes' memories alive.
"It's just as raw now as it was then. Sometimes more so because the first year or two was numb. I don't remember a lot of it," Kevin McLaughlin said. "It's great to have people remember our boys."
The bikes will be on tour throughout the state this summer and will be raffled off Sept. 7. Two-hundred tickets for each bike are available at $50 apiece.
The Combat Vets Association will donate their time to transport the bikes to various events this summer.
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