Saturday, May 14, 2011, will be a day SPC Stephen Nitz will not soon forget. On Saturday, SPC Nitz was honored at a Rolling Thunder Veteran’s ride held at Seminole Harley Davidson. Stephen was presented with a new and improved version of his Harley Sportster, all chopped up, waxed and polished, and ready to ride. Rick Nitz, SPC Nitz’s father, contacted Wish For Our Heroes last summer to request a wish that would hopefully help Stephen overcome memories of two difficult deployments. Stephen had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in less than a 3-year span. During that time, Stephen lost several battle buddies, and was having a difficult time finding his “old self”.
Stephen’s father knew that some of Stephen’s happiest days were spent on his Sportster, so Rick and Wish For Our Heroes worked diligently to ensure the bike would be ready for Stephen’s return from Afghanistan. Ron Schroeder, proprietor of Schroeder Cycle, was the Harley tech that did all the work on the bike, and he made a grand entrance on the bike at the Rolling Thunder event.
Ron Lau, from Rolling Thunder, Chapter 8, joined Ann Mayer of Wish For Our Heroes, and Rick Nitz, to present Stephen with his new bike. The ceremonies started with the Pledge of Allegiance with the Boy Scouts providing Color Guard. Ann Mayer from Wish For Our Heroes touched on Stephen’s life changing experiences and talked about the differences Wish For Our Heroes makes in the lives of our troops. Rick Nitz then talked, getting choked up at times, about what an incredible person SPC Stephen Nitz is. SPC Nitz is a very giving person and donates time and money to charitable causes. He concluded by announcing that Stephen has just been awarded the Bronze Star for act of bravery while serving in Afghanistan.
Once the presentation concluded, Stephen jumped on his bike and led the Veteran’s ride, carrying the American Flag, on the Veterans Ride around Lake Monroe. Stephen was smiles all day. It was a great day for SPC Nitz to realize how much he and his fellow troops are greatly appreciated.