Shenandoah Harley-Davidson/Buell, a perpetual finalist in the Top 100 competition, this year received special commendations for hosting the Freedom Relief Ride series, which offers World War II veterans and select guests a free trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 2008 more than 200 veterans and their guests took a police-escorted bus ride to Washington, where they were given a catered lunch courtesy of Shenandoah Harley-Davidson. More than 200 motorcycles escorted the bus caravan to the memorial.
"The view of the hundreds of motorcycles and the buses was breathtaking," says Shenandoah Harley-Davidson owner Bob Ladd. "It has to be the most memorable even in SHD history, and we were able to positively impact so many people's lives that day."
Because most of the veterans were over 80 years old, the dealership also recruited nurses, and provided wheelchairs and snacks to make the trip comfortable. And with the local bus company and other businesses chipping in to offset costs, the event cost Shenandoah Harley only $3,000. — Dennis Johnson