Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Marine-Afghanistan Amputee Gets Wheels

Custom-ordered Harley brings ‘freedom’ to disabled St. Augustine veteran
Florida Times Union
By Beth Reese Cravey
Posted February 27, 2017

Brandon Long had wanted a motorcycle since he was a kid.
Salesman John Armstrong hands Brandon Long the keys to his new motorcycle as he walks him through the features of the custom Harley-Davidson the Adamec dealership on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville created for him. Long, 26, a Marine veteran who lives in St. Augustine, ordered a three wheeler configured with hand control to cover the functions normally controlled by the rider's feet.
Photo Bob Self Florida Times Union.
Long thought that dream would go unfulfilled after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on Marine Corps deployment in Afghanistan in December 2010. He said he died — and was resuscitated — eight times, lost both legs and spent two years in physical therapy.

“When I came back injured, I didn’t think I would be able to ride,” Long said.

Still, the dream persisted.

So Long and John Armstrong, a salesman at Adamec Harley-Davidson dealership on Baymeadows Road, spent about a year studying the motorcycle options for a double amputee in a wheelchair. And on Feb. 16, Long, now 26, arrived at the Jacksonville dealership to meet his brand-new Freewheeler, a three-wheeled motorcycle with all custom hand controls.

Long, who had waited a long “two months and two days” for the bike to arrive, was ecstatic.

“It was amazing,” he said last week. “Just absolutely amazing.”
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