Local Iraq War Veteran Gets Special 'Thank You'

By Nick Perreault

May 30, 2011 Updated May 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM CDT

When you hear the words Memorial Day, certain words come to mind patriot, american, hero.

A local company is showing their support by giving an Iraq War Veteran a special thank you.

Jesse Schertz has always had a love for two wheels.

First it was motor-cross then motorcycles but his passion for the open road almost came to a screeching halt in 2006.

Schertz says, "We were stationed in Allisod, Iraq and me and a couple other local guys got hit by a suicide car bomb."

Schertz returned home with a prosthetic leg and was reunited with motorcycles when he was given one as a gift through an event known as Ziggiefest.

Jesse decided he wanted to dress up the bike so he took his new ride to Ken's Custom Paint shop in Peoria.

Owner Ken Stennrod says the story just touched his heart, "somebody that could do that, could get through that and not be bitter or miserable, I couldn't think a person more deserving for this."

Ken and several other manufacturers put a lot of custom ideas into Jesse's Bike such as extended saddle bags, longer floor boards with a tool kit inside and also a very custom paint job.

Schertz is very proud of his new custom bike, "There is not a thing on the bike I don't like, it far exceeded my expectations."

And the best part, when Jesse went to pay for the work, it was on the house.

Mackinaw resident Duane Payton says Schertz is very deserving of this gift, "I think its cool what they did for him, it's a sweet bike, and he deserves it for the service he did for our country"

Schertz says the gesture says something about the community, "It's just nice to know that people still support the veterans, we are still at war, its not over with and just to have that support, for me and my brothers it feels really good, its a good thing"

Schertz plans to continue to show his support for his fellow brothers and veterans by teaming up with Ken and the other manufacturers that helped build his bike, to help build more motorcycles for veterans in need.

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