A Marine in Vietnam, Bill Bradfield already served his country.
Forty years later he continues giving, this time helping service members who have type 2 diabetes due to Agent Orange exposure.
Diagnosed in 2006 with the disease due to the defoliant, Bradfield will leave Cadillac July 12 on a journey to raise money and awareness about war's fallout.
The 8,000-mile motorcycle adventure through 29 states and 48 major cities will benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. The funds raised in this 33-day odyssey — hosted by Bradfield's From Sea to Shining Sea Motorcycle Adventures, Inc. — will help the institute battle a disease that affects 27 million Americans total.
"I decided that I wanted to do something that bestowed honor amongst all veterans of all wars that will hopefully take the shape of an ongoing tribute to all of the men and women in America that make our freedom possible," said Bradfield, a member of multiple veterans organizations as well as the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder.
"I was a part of all veterans groups for many years but I'd done nothing but send money in the mail," he added. "I decided it was time to give back and do something big."
The Cadillac resident conceived of the journey last August being part of the honor guard escorting the traveling Vietnam Wall from Reed City to Cadillac. He founded From Sea to Shining Sea in Cadillac, setting up in January a board including many Vietnam veterans and disabled veterans.
As he planned the journey, which he estimates will feature a changing roster of 50-60 riders, Bradfield has received tremendous support from the Cadillac and veteran community.
A benefit to help From Sea To Shining Sea's effort will be held Saturday at Stone Circle, situated about 25 miles north of Traverse City. Poet bard founder Terry Wooten will donate 75 percent of proceeds at the weekly summer gathering of poetry, stories and music.
Wooten learned of From Sea to Shining Sea from Larry Lelito, of Williamsburg, a friend, veteran and longtime Stone Circle participant. Wooten realized that Stone Circle provided a natural venue for a fundraiser to help.
"I'm not a veteran but I've done a lot of work in the past few years with veterans and the Elders Project," Wooten said. "I stood up against the (Vietnam) War but I never stood up against the guys who fought it."
Bradfield will be riding a unique vehicle across the country and back: a "snow cycle," as he calls it. This custom creation is a snowmobile converted to a three-wheeled trike. The vehicle logged thousands of miles during a 2010 benefit for the Diabetes Research Institute.
Bradfield led 53 other riders that year on an epic adventure from Sault Ste. Marie to Tok, Alaska, raising $102,000 in the process. The route covered five states, five Canadian Provinces and four time zones. The riders traversed some of North America's most scenic and treacherous landscape, with temperatures dropping to 30 degrees below zero.
The average age of participants: 62 years old.
"'Dream It, Plan It, Do It' was our motto," Bradfield said of that earlier trip. "That persevered as it will again during From Sea to Shining Sea."
For more information, see www.stssmadventures.com or call Bill Bradfield at (231) 862-3562.
A Marine in Vietnam, Bill Bradfield already served his country.
'Perry Hannah's Gifts: Then and Now'
“Perry Hannah’s Gifts: Then and Now,” is expected to arrive in town this week, fresh from the printing press and just in time for the holidays.Continued ...
Owen Walters is one of the lucky ones. “It was hard for me to do things,” he said, as his mom, Terra, reached over to squeeze his hand. “It’s really hard still.”Continued ...
Marta Hepler Drahos: Crafty Christmas helps mend broken heart
For years I’ve been on the receiving end of gifts lovingly made by hand — gifts like a picture frame decorated with beach stones I helped its creator collect, caramel and chocolate sauces for a favorite baked pear recipe, quilted wall hangings depicting my wedding and my beloved pets.Continued ...
Ed Hungness: Scooping the ashes
This fall we have been using our fireplace more than in years past. The season made its appearance and the first snow arrived before a final leaf raking.Continued ...
Books in Brief: 12/08/2013
Illustrator visit; Author discussion.Continued ...
Best Sellers: 12/08/2013
Best-selling books in northern Michigan and across the country:Continued ...
Community in Brief: 12/08/2013
"Cabin Fever" artist talk; Bayside Travellers dance; Betsie Valley Library open house; and more.Continued ...
- Saturday, December 7, 2013
'Messiah Sing' ushers in TC holiday season
David MacDougall considers himself the kind of singer who sounds better singing with a crowd than on his own.Continued ...
Rob Ford: Spread holiday cheer with eye contact
‘Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact” I said to myself. “It’s OK to look at your hands, look at your shoes, look at his beard or look at anything else, but just don’t make eye contact.”Continued ...
Body&Soul in Brief: 12/07/2013
"Pangea's 4 Peace" fundraiser; Parkinson's Support Group Christmas party; Christmas cookie sale; and more.Continued ...
Blood Drive Calendar: 12/07/2013
Where to donate blood in the region:Continued ...
Body&Soul Newsmakers: 12/07/2013
People in the news:Continued ...
Clinic model replicated nationwide
What began two decades ago on Hilton Head Island as a free clinic using retired physicians and volunteers to care for the working poor has become a model for dozens of similar clinics nationwide.Continued ...
Feds give states incomplete Medicaid data
People shopping for insurance on the federal marketplace may be informed they’re eligible for Medicaid and that their information is being sent to state officials to sign them up.Continued ...
Forced C-section is ruled justified
A newly released court judgment says that doctors were medically justified in forcing a woman to have a cesarean section last year because it was in her best interests.Continued ...
Community in Brief: 12/07/2013
Child care for holiday shoppers; old-time country dance.Continued ...
Education Newsmakers: 12/07/2013
The following local graduating seniors were named Kiwanis Club of Traverse City Students of the Month:Continued ...
- Friday, December 6, 2013
Liberace exhibit a trove of glittery glam
For years, Las Vegas tourists have had no place to pay their respects to one of the glitzy town’s founding fathers.Continued ...
How Grinchy Met The Who
Imagine “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” meets “Tommy,” sung and spoken entirely in rhyme.Continued ...
Contribute: Best Christmas light displays
We’re searching for the area’s best neighborhood Christmas light displays for an upcoming Northern Living story.Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 12/06/2013
Christmas parody; Kalkaska Library cookie sale; Glass Mosaic Gallery open house; and more.Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 12/06/2013
What's happening after dark across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Manistee celebrates season with reopened Vogue, Christmas Weekend
If you’ve never driven the 65 miles southwest to Manistee for the city’s Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend there’s an extra reason to make the trip this year.Continued ...
OTP gets in the spirit with 'Wonderful Life'
Jill Beauchamp has watched the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every Christmas season since she was young.Continued ...
Mandela film breaks box office records in S. Africa
A movie depicting the life of Nelson Mandela has become South Africa's highest grossing picture after its opening last week, its producers said Thursday.Continued ...
- 'Perry Hannah's Gifts: Then and Now'