Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stolen motorcycle restored, returned to veteran

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM

click to enlarge Paul Badillo poses in front of his "new" bike with members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who helped get his bike back, as well as Ryan McDonaugh and Travis Wright — Nam Knights members who aided in the restoration. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Paul Badillo poses in front of his "new" bike with members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who helped get his bike back, as well as Ryan McDonaugh and Travis Wright — Nam Knights members who aided in the restoration.

This past June, local Iraq war Veteran Paul Badillo’s motorcycle was stolen from in front of his Tampa apartment. He said he thought he was being followed that day and it turned out he was. As a Black Hawk crew member when he served in the Army, tinkering with his bike was not only therapeutic for him, but also helped him push through some thoughts about his time in Iraq. 

A week after it was stolen, detectives spotted the motorcycle and followed the perpetrator, Nathan Bower, to his home, where he and two others were arrested on charges of stolen property, possession of drugs, guns and almost $21,000 in cash. Something that took Badillo years to build only took a week to make the motorcycle almost inoperable. The bike had been laid down on both sides, wires were torn out, the gas cap was missing and it had even been spray painted black.

click to enlarge Paul Badillo, with daughter Mila, sees his motorcycle for the first time after being rebuilt. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Paul Badillo, with daughter Mila, sees his motorcycle for the first time after being rebuilt.

American military veteran and law enforcement motorcycle club, the Nam Knights, stepped forward to pay for the costs to “help take care of one of their own,” claimed Todd Harr, president of the group. From finding parts on eBay to getting donations and ultimately piecing it back together, Ryan McDonaugh and Travis Wright, both members of the Nam Knights, spent their weekends of the past two months restoring the bike for Badillo.

click to enlarge With daughter Mila in his arms, Paul Badillo hugs Ryan McDonaugh, a member of the Nam Knights who spent his weekends for the past two months restoring Badillo's mortorcycle. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • With daughter Mila in his arms, Paul Badillo hugs Ryan McDonaugh, a member of the Nam Knights who spent his weekends for the past two months restoring Badillo's mortorcycle.

“There’s nothing I’ll ever be able to say or do to show how great I am for this. I feel like thank you isn’t even sufficient to how I feel,” said Badillo. “It’s all we (he and his daughter Mila) had when I left the military. I had a really hard time after it was gone. Nothing was working around me at the time.”

Hearing him start up his fully restored motorcycle for the first time in months brought cheers, a great applause and many smiles to those who looked on, the biggest one present on Badillo.

The Nam Knights Westside Chapter, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Amvets post 26, Stepp’s Towing, Pride Cycles, Barney’s of Brandon and Chrisco Pinstriping are amongst those who contributed to restore Badillo’s motorcycle back to the way it was.

click to enlarge unnamed-2.JPG

click to enlarge Brand as new!  "It was pretty much not even a bike when we got it and there weren't even any bolts holding in the headlights," said Ryan McDonaugh, member of the Nam Knights. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Brand as new! "It was pretty much not even a bike when we got it and there weren't even any bolts holding in the headlights," said Ryan McDonaugh, member of the Nam Knights.

click to enlarge Nam Knights Westside Chapter. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Nam Knights Westside Chapter.

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