By Jodi Hersey

Special to The Weekly

Hopping on two wheels, revving the engine and setting out on a relaxing motorcycle ride in the sunshine will never be the same for Nicole Hogan of Bradley. Her husband, Chuck, who is a mechanic, spent most of July restoring a 1999 Suzuki Intruder 1400 once owned by Nicole’s late father, Dale Rustin. The bike now sports a custom paint job that honors Nicole’s father’s memory while also paying tribute to those who have passed away from suicide.

“I can’t talk about the bike or show it to anybody without crying. It’s pretty special,” said Hogan. “One of the last things we did together with my dad was go for a ride. My mom and I, my husband and my dad all have our own motorcycles. He committed suicide on a Monday and that Saturday we had just done a benefit motorcycle ride for a man with cancer.”

According to Hogan, her 52-year-old father bought the bike in the spring of 2009 and by the fall of 2009, he was gone.

“There was a big dent in the tank when he bought it that never got fixed so my husband decided to fix it this year and paint it,” explained Hogan.

What Nicole didn’t know was that Chuck had many more ideas up his sleeve than just fixing the tank and adding a new coat of paint to her dad’s beloved set of wheels. So he enlisted the help of many family friends including Cody Ramsey of Greenfield who created the artwork and Jake Moore of Milford who assisted him with the paint job. Keeping the bike a total surprise was left up to longtime pal Sandy Buck of Bradley.

“He took me to go see it and our friends were all around. I didn’t know it was such a big spectacular thing. But then when they took off the bike cover and I saw the back fender had the suicide prevention ribbon, that’s when I knew it was for my dad,” said Hogan. “I don’t

think anyone has ever done anything like that for me.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.

Hogan hopes her dad’s newly restored bike will cause others to start a conversation about suicide,

suicide prevention and what life is like after losing a loved one to suicide.

“When we drive around and people see it, I hope they Google it because I doubt that people truly know what the suicide prevention awareness ribbon is. I hope they learn what it is and are not afraid to speak out about it,” she explained.  

The family has lots of fond memories of Dale that they enjoy sharing with others. And now the Hogans look forward to making even more memories with him, one bike ride at a time.  

“My dad was a big part of our lives. We talk about Grampy Dale a lot to our son Remington

because even though he isn’t alive, our faith tells us he’s in heaven,” said Nicole. “There

were so many people who loved my dad and loved the bike. Suicide doesn’t solve anything

for anybody. So, I hope that this makes people stop and think.”