I called Perewitz. And even though I told him I was a freelance writer in the backwoods of North Idaho who has done a little motorcycle magazine work, but primarily work for slicks like Todays Christian Woman magazine and on book projects like “Hot Flashes from Heaven” (Harvest House Publishers, January 2008 release date), Perewitz from the very get-go spoke to me like what I said mattered. His reply echoed Maidas, with one caveat. “Sure Ill help. But I need a bike.” Gulp.
And then I remembered another “really nice guy,” one who just might have what Perewitz needed. My turn to speed dial. Enter “moto-mogul” number three: George Latus, owner of the Portland, Oregon, mondo-dealership, Latus Motors Harley-Davidson. No sooner did I ask it of him and a brand new 2006 Heritage Softail slipped humbly and quietly out of Latus magnanimous pocketbook and into Perewitz Massachusetts shop.
Latus would later tell me he got involved because, “It was the type of story that touched me, but I didnt know what to do that would be helpful until you called with this wonderful idea. Also, I was (formerly) the dealer in Spokane, Washington, (near Groene) for 20 years. During this time I was blessed with great employees, great friends and great customers. This was a chance for me to give something back.”
While I was mogul-managing, cheering on my miracle men, they did their own ball-juggling, adding layers of sweet icing to the already-baking bike build. Chris Maida and Dave Perewitz coordinated additional donations of sundry parts and even return shipping from another moto-mogul with another “Sure, Ill help” attitude, Ken Gold of Las Vegas Gran Tourismo Motorsports.
From Bad to Worse
Over the course of the following year, Groene, would loose his vocal chords to the cancer and chemo. Unable to keep up with the payments, hed also loose his home and move in with a compassionate friend and caregiver. A follow-up surgery would install a mechanical voice box in the former blues singers throat. The savvy Shasta would get months of helpful counseling and provide invaluable information to the prosecution information that would help lead investigators to other unsolved Duncan child abductions and murders. And Duncans defense attorney would madly tap dance trying to keep his client out of the courtroom.
At the same time, on the entirely opposite side of the United States, my miracle men were pulling off multiple photographic and video shoots of the build in progress (which are now in American Irons March and April issues and on upcoming Dave Perewitz programs on the Spike Channels Celebrity Choppers). Dave, who almost never puts a rear seat on his pricy customs, installed a special one for Shasta who loves riding behind her dad. In hot pink he painted Shastas name on the tank; Dylans and Slades names adorn the rear fender.
Too sick to ride any motorcycle, the unsuspecting Groene was with the extensive help of Post Falls, Idaho, motorcycle shop owners Scott and Jinny Lyon of Road House Cycles preparing his old Heritage to be sold or raffled off this spring by giving it a makeover with upgraded chrome and a flashy local paint job that added several thousand dollars to its worth.
As if orchestrated by heaven itself, Perewitz whose customized creations sell for $60,000 and up finished Groenes bike within weeks of Duncan receiving his life sentence in a plea bargain that would spare Shasta the trauma of having to testify. Duncan still faces federal charges that will likely result with him receiving the death penalty.)
With Christmas 2006 right around the corner, it was time for Steve and Shasta to finally have something to celebrate. I had one last mogul to call. OK, OK, so Geraldo Rivera isnt a moto-mogul per say, but no one can argue his media-mogul standing with a capital M. And he is an avid motorcyclist, so much so, that when Rivera and his crew first came to CdA to cover the Groene story, he and the Groenes spent time together cruising the scenic back roads on bikes, creating a biker bond between the stricken father, his petite little daughter and the impassioned television journalist.
What happened when Ronna called Geraldo Rivera. See how the story unfolds in Part 3 of “A Motorcycle Miracle” by clicking here, plus see some great photos of the big reveal.