Air Force veterans open community garage for bikers
By ROXETTE PIETRI-FREEMAN | KTBS-TV via AP | Published: April 21, 2019
SHREVEPORT, La. — Three vets, same passion, one community.
It was all thanks to their assignments at Barksdale Air Force Base where these three airmen met. Shortly after, they realized they all share a passion for motorcycles.
"We are about vets helping vets, bikers helping bikers, and the community coming together to rally around bikers," said David Hansen, co-owner of Monkey Barz Community Garage.
Brandon Brewer, another co-owner, added: "Normally, in the military you travel around a lot. I've been fortunate to stay in this area. So as long as I stay in this area a little longer, I'll be able to see this dream come to fruition."
Some hobbies can be expensive, and according to these airmen when a bike breaks it can be frustrating and very expensive. They've experienced these frustrations and in their opinion some mechanic shops overcharge customers. So they decided to do something about it.
"We got tired of being taking advantage of, so we wanted to do something special for Shreveport/Bossier," Hansen said.
And just like that, they decided to open their own garage. Their concept is DIY (Do It Yourself).
But if you need help, they'll lend you a hand. They have all sorts of equipment such as bike lifts or supply what is needed to change the oil, fix tires and more.
These three veterans treated Monkey Barz as if it were a mission. Believe it or not, they pulled $20,000 out of their own pockets to make what started as a joke into a reality.
"This started as a joke in Brandon's garage. We were sitting there and my bike was on the floor jack and his bike was on a lift and we were all joking around saying, 'Hey what if we started our own garage where people can work on their own stuff?' Then we went and bought thousands of dollars in tools," said the third co-owner Rylan Parker.
It wasn't an easy task, especially making sure the garage had all the safety equipment needed.
"It was a very big challenge because you can't just throw it together and think people are going to come in here and not hurt themselves. You got to think about the safe aspect of it," said Hansen.
And then there are other expenses that come first, like raising children and providing for your family.
"I've got a wife and three kids so the budget is strained already. Nobody makes enough money to do what they actually want to do. So when we decided to throw this on our already tight budget, there were quite a few different reactions, I would say," Hansen said.
But all families supported these airmen and now these veterans are hoping the community does as well.
Take Parker. He was raised in Shreveport and says his main goal is bringing a community together.
"I've lived in Shreveport for 19 of my 23 years and it's always been there's different parts of Shreveport and there will be a part that I don't want to go there because there's bad people there or I'm not going out to the country because there's nothing there. So we are trying to bring everybody together in a centralized location where they all feel safe," he said.
Because alone you can do so little, but together you can do so much.
Information from: KTBS-TV.