Trevor Nebesniak’s Motorcycle, ATV & Personal Watercraft Technology program
at Southeast Community College received a unique assignment at the start of the
Spring Quarter: Rebuild a motorcycle for Wheels 4 Warriors USA.
Deadline? June 9.
The quarter began March 28.
couldn’t have come to me at a better time in the students’ schedule because
this was exactly what we were doing in the class as far as engine repair,”
Nebesniak said. The project involved much more than overhauling the engine.
nearly 50 hours taking the 2001 Victory Deluxe Cruiser apart and logging the
parts, then more than 200 hours rebuilding the bike. It was given to the Combat
Veterans Motorcycle Association Nebraska Chapter, and then presented to Tyler
Endicott during a ceremony June 9 in The Railyard.
“I had no idea,”
Endicott said. “There’s probably more people that deserve it more than I do.
This is a big shock. Thank you everybody.”
originally from Deadwood, South Dakota, who now lives in Papillion, worked
countless hours restoring the bike. The 36-year-old Army and Army Reserve
veteran approached Nebesniak with the class project.
“I got a call
from Craig Toupin (president and chief executive officer of Wheels 4 Warriors
USA) asking if I would be interested in doing the next Wheels 4 Warriors USA
bike,” Atanasu said. “I talked to Trevor, and we’ve been rolling on it.”
Brian Sweeney, a
veteran in Riverside, California, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during
his service and could no longer ride, contacted Toupin last year. He said he had
a bike he wanted to donate, and insisted it go to a veteran. Toupin drove to
California last November to get the motorcycle, all the while hoping he wasn’t
wasting his time.
“When I got
there, it was not in good shape,” he said. “It didn’t run. The starter was
burned out. The driving lights were broken. A fender was bent. It was in all
sorts of disarray.”
With the bike
loaded it was time to head back to Nebraska, but not before an emotional
“There were tears
in his eyes, and he gave me a hug,” Toupin said. “Right then I realized that
this was mission accomplished. The (W4W USA) program isn’t about the day we
give the bike to an individual, it’s about getting these veterans back into a
group with people they can trust.”
Since Endicott is
an Army veteran, SCC students added a number of custom touches to the bike,
including military blue on the dipstick, blue pin striping on the gas cap and
military green for the fenders and gas tank. SCC’s Welding Technology program
also contributed customized plates toward the front of the bike and on the
back, with the No. 7 etched and illuminated with a blue LED light.
“They’ve done a
great job on the bike,” Toupin said.
a student from Gothenburg, also spent much of the quarter helping to repair the
motorcycle. Three other students in the class, Wyatt Starmer from Bethany,
Missouri; Cannon Arett from Fremont; and Brandon Haverkamp from Seneca, Kansas,
also worked on the project.
Nebesniak said a
key instructional moment during the project occurred when Rylan Vos, owner of
The Vic Shop in De Soto, Iowa, attended class one day and dyno-tuned the V-twin
engine. Vos is considered an expert on Victory motorcycles.
helped us reprogram the motor,” Nebesniak said.
“He took time to
teach us what he was doing,” Atanasu said. “I was blown away. You could
literally hear the engine change while he was on the dyno.”
Atanasu said the
most stressful part of the project was making sure parts went to the paint shop
“If you miss the
paint day, the project is over,” he said. All of the black on the bike was
Since 2015, W4W
USA has been presenting refurbished motorcycles to veterans groups across the
brotherhood, fellowship, camaraderie,” Toupin said. “Each day an estimated 22
veterans take their own lives. Maybe we can help introduce vets to motorcycles
and fellow veterans and get them the help they need.”
Vets Two Wheels at a Time” is the slogan on the Wheels 4 Warriors USA website.
W4W USA is a national effort to assist veteran
motorcycle organizations put deserving, honorably-discharged veterans of the
United States Armed Forces on motorcycles. The organization partners with any
veteran or motorcycle organization to help get a deserving veteran his or her