KILLEEN (September 3, 2013) -- Fighting for his country for nearly two decades, a local veteran is doing his part to give back to his fellow troops.
It's been six years since James Whitaker hung up his Army uniform. But he said it was only about two weeks ago, he had a dream that he was still serving.
"I was given a mission to build a bike on donations so that another one of us can have the freedom that they are lacking," Whitaker said, as he described another man in uniform giving him the orders.
The words that came to him in that dream is a mission he's taking seriously. He has the engine and a few parts needed to construct a custom fitted motorcycle for a wounded comrade.
Whitaker's passion for riding began when he was only four years old. "Its therapeutic especially for those of us that have been over there in country," he said.
He's a disabled veteran, whose operated his own motorcycle repair shop in Killeen for about six months. He said he suffers from back problems, severe asthma, and post traumatic stress disorder, which are issues that hit him hard after his deployment to Iraq in 2005.
"Everything just started happening after that." He's also battled constant memory loss for several years. "The biggest thing i can remember is how to work on an engine. A Harley," he said. "That's about the only thing i can remember from day to day."
Whitaker has now reached out to the Wounded Warrior Project to help him find a veteran either wheelchair bound or missing a limb. "I know there's an essential need for the freedom and just as a human being able to get around."
The new bike will cost $75,000, and will be built completely from donations he receives from the community. His plan is to deliver the new ride with the title to his fellow service member by Christmas.