By Amy Nordahl
Many of you may have seen this on Facebook. Many of you know me personally, some of you may have seen my bike at a Ride-In™ and wondered about the painting, others may have no idea who I am or anything about my bike. Well, I am a long time Woman on Wheels® member who loves to ride and share my love of riding with others. I live in Wisconsin about 30 minutes from St. Paul, Minnesota, and despite our short summers, I usually manage to put on around 20,000 miles each season.
My love for riding developed in my teen years when my mom, Linda Stone, took up riding and I was often her passenger. We took many trips together, two-up on her bike, often with her husband leading the way with my sister on his back seat. When I was 22, my step-dad gifted me the three-day rider course and my driving days began! In the early years, I was not able to ride much being a young single mother of two. My Mom was very involved with WOW back then and I joined and stayed a member for a while, but lack of time to ride and tight finances due to going back to school ended my WOW membership and most of my riding. I continued to ride occasionally getting out with friends and occasionally traveling down to La Crosse to ride with my mom and a club I was a member of.
Then, on December 7, 1998, my life was forever changed. My son, John David (Johnny), ended his life at the age of 12. It took many years for me to climb out of the dark place that I was thrust into after Johnny’s death. With the help of many family and friends, and God’s loving grace, I slowly made my way back to the land of the living. I got remarried in 2004 to the man who held me up through those very dark days. In 2010, I purchased a slightly used (only 6,500 miles) 2005 Kawasaki Nomad and rejoined WOW. For a long time, I considered a tattoo on my lower back in memory of my son, but I had this mental image of my aging, sagging skin and my son’s face migrating south to a place he would not be happy about! LOL!
One day I had the epiphany to put a faring on my bike and have the memorial I envisioned painted on the faring. After much searching, I found a painter who had the talent to turn my vision into reality. I decided to add Jesus to the bike because without Him I would have left this world the same as my son.
This year I will turn 50! And it marks 20 years since that tragic day. For the last year and a half, I have been trying to decide how I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday. About six months ago, I decided I wanted to do something to honor my son’s memory and raise awareness about youth suicide. After lots of prayer, research and suggestions, I have decided to do FOREVER 12.
FOREVER 12 will be a solo motorcycle ride the entire length of US Hwy 12 (my son’s forever age) from Detroit, Michigan to Aberdeen, Washington – 2,484 miles. My ride will start on June 18, my son’s birthday, and I am estimating it will take approximately 10-12 days to complete with various events set up along the route to raise money and awareness for SAVE (Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education). My goal is to raise $10,000 from this ride. I have created a FOREVER 12 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/johndavidtrautmiller/) for anyone who would like to follow my journey and/or be aware of opportunities to help organize events. This page is where I will post events that I am working on, assistance I could use, and all other info leading up to June 18, 2018, and during the ride itself (maybe you could ride a little of it with me). If you are on Facebook please like and share this page, and ask your friends to do the same. We never know who might know someone who needs the services SAVE provides.
If you are not on Facebook, but would like to stay informed about the ride please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For anyone who lives near Hwy 12 that has ideas/contacts for a fundraising event, please message me from the Forever_12 Facebook page or the Forever 12 email. If you would like to support my efforts financially, all donations go directly to SAVE from my Forever 12 campaign and are tax deductible to the full extent the law allows. The direct link to the SAVE campaign is: https://tinyurl.com/y9cmssnt
Thank you to my WOW family for allowing me to share my story and helping me raise awareness about this growing epidemic among our youth. I hope to meet many of you on the road! Let’s make 2018 the best year yet!
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