Bronze Star recipient surprised with new Harley at Sturgis rally

(L to R) John Roberts, national service director of Wounded Warrior Project; Army veteran Charles Swank; Bill Davidson, great-grandson of the Harley-Davidson co-founder; and Scootin’ America’s Adam Sandoval. (Image: Toby Brusseau/AP Images for Harley-Davidson; published with permission)

STURGIS, SD –  Bronze Star recipient Charles Swank received a surprise at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: a new Harley-Davidson powered by a Milwaukee-Eight Engine.

The surprise moment was part of Mission: “Thank You,” a cross-country tour led by Scootin’ America’s Adam Sandoval to “celebrate the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom,” Harley-Davidson announced. The bike was presented to Swank during the rally’s Military Appreciation Day.

Swank enlisted in the United States Army on Sept. 11, 2001 and deployed to Iraq in 2003 as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division; he was deployed again in 2005, this time to Afghanistan. He earned a Bronze Star for helping one of his wounded comrades during a firefight.

Swank’s service ended in 2006, but he continues to serve his community as a firefighter in Butler, OH. He has five children.

“Every American can nominate a military member — past or present — who has dedicated their life to protecting our freedom by submitting their story of sacrifice, strength and courage of service at

A panel consisting of Adam Sandoval, Wounded Warrior Project representatives and Harley-Davidson leadership will select seven additional military members to be honored with new motorcycles.