Wounded warrior gets a new ride

Group helps double amputee realize his dream

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A kick of a pedal and the engine roared to life.

And for Roland Paquette a dream came roaring back to life.

A dream to ride.

And ride he did.

Sunday afternoon the retired Army Special Forces sergeant got the gift he'd been wanting as a Massachusetts veterans group delivered a special motorcycle to Paquette at his home in San Antonio.

An IED explosion in Afghanistan left Paquette wounded, both legs amputated above the knee and unable to ride a regular motorcycle.

So the Massachusetts Combat Vets Association went to work, making the long trip to San Antonio to deliver a specially-made, three-wheeled trike.

Paquette said he could not be happier to have a part of who he was and what he did brought back to life.

"It means I'm getting back a part of who I was prior to being injured," he said. "Just the feeling of freedom and it's one less way I'm constrained by being an amputee."  

Military vets and fellow wounded warriors lined the street as Paquette fired up his new cycle, and rolled the ride out of its trailer and down the road.

"We know how important it is to get out on the road, and just escape and just because a guy lost his legs doesn't mean he shouldn't have that opportunity to escape," said Chris Aker, of Massachusetts Combat Vets Association. "We couldn't imagine not riding, so we just wanted to help a guy ride." 

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