By Reginald Rogers/ParaglideMarch 11, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Five thousand, one hundred and one dollars.
That's the amount of money that was recently donated to Fort Bragg's Fisher House as local motorcycle builder Hot Rodz auctioned a custom bike and presented all proceeds to the organization that assists Soldiers and Families in need.
The project began in October 2010, as the Hot Rodz staff, along with officials from the Fisher House hashed out plans for building a bike in honor of the organization.
Dr. (Col.) Lee Hatley, who heads Davis Dental Clinic on Fort Bragg purchased the bike by outbidding all other competitors, including one who bid via phone. In turn, the proceeds from the sale will be given to the Fisher House, Hatley he says was a deciding factor for him to buy the bike.
"The fact that proceeds were going to the Fisher House was important to me," Hatley said. "I like Hot Rodz also. I bought my bike from there and it's an opportunity to give back."
Hatley said the thought the bike would go for more money and he admits that he got a deal by buying it for $5,101.
"I already have people wanting to buy the bike," he said. "I don't think I'll ever ride it. I ride a Big Dog and I don't think I'll ever ride the bike."
Mark Hendrick, Hot Rodz manager, said he was happy that a Soldier purchased the bike, especially one who was one of Hot Rodz biggest customers.
"Not only is he a military member, but Dr. Hatley is a really good customer of our shop and he came to almost every bike night," Hendrick said. "In my heart, I was hoping that somebody like that would wind up with the bike, especially when it got finished. It's such a spectacular machine and I think he feels good, we all feel good and the bike got a really nice home."
Hendrick explained that the motorcycle, dubbed the "Fisher House bike," began life as a 1977 Harley Davidson Springer. Hot Rodz added a lot of parts taken from around the shop, to go along with various outsourced parts, including many that were donated by various vendors.
After starting the build in late October, Hendrick opened the project to anyone who wanted to assist in building the bike. He gave the staff until late February to complete the project, which culminated with an auction March 3, during the monthly bike night at Hooters in Fayetteville.
He said the Hot Rodz staff was pleased with the way the bike turned out, especially after spending months of man-hours building it.
"We were absolutely amazed and really pleased with how the bike turned out," he said. "A lot of the customers who started on the process with us, were extremely excited because they didn't see the vision that we had initially. When it finally came together, everyone was excited about the motorcycle."
Hendrick said it was important that they gave back to the Fort Bragg, which is home to some of Hot Rodz biggest customers.
"It feels great because as a motorcycle shop in the economy that we're in right now, I know the Soldiers, the post and the fact that we're in Fayetteville, helps us be successful," Hendrick explained. "So I feel like it's what we need to do to give back to the community," he added.
"These guys worked effortlessly and they didn't mind how many hours they had to put in," explained Scott Britt, owner, Hot Rodz Customs. "The people donated their time and parts for the bike. It's so great to see people work for such a good cause. We're so proud of that."
Britt said Hot Rodz is proud to be associated with the Fisher House.
"The powder coating was done by a local company, Final Touch and people donated so much stuff and helped us out a great deal," he said.
Britt said it was important to him to support Fisher House because of what they do for the military and in turn, it allows Hot Rodz to also support the military.
"I believe that every day that I go to work, it's because of what these guys give," he said. "I'm just proud to even be around them. I truly can't say enough about what these guys do, how they do it and why they do their jobs every day. We're just proud to support the military in this town."
Fisher House's Shauna Crouch said her organization is also proud of the bike and the efforts of Hot Rodz and everyone who took part in the build. She said they are thankful for the effort and the proceeds, which will definitely assist Fisher House in taking care of more Soldiers and their Families.
"We're really excited about both, the proceeds and also about how awesome this really is," Crouch said. "They really worked hard and it was great for them to do that for us and it was a lot of fun."
Crouch, who saw the bike when it was just a bare frame, said the final product exceeded her expectations.
"It really did," she said. "It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful. When you remember how it began, I would never have guessed it would look like it does. Considering the people who were working on it, it does not surprise me. I was looking forward to when I got to see it completed because I knew it would be beautiful and it is."
Crouch said she was also happy that a Soldier bought the bike.
"It's really neat. We want to thank Hot Rodz for all of their work. This was a great event and we're really, really grateful," Crouch said.