Press Release: July 5 2015
OPERATION HOMECOMING ALUMNI JOIN INAUGURAL ‘VETERANS CHARITY RIDE TO STURGIS’
Jack Lewis and Sharon D. Allen met while promoting the book Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. Nearly a decade later, they will once again promote and document veterans’ history as they join with the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2015, put together by Full Vision Productions and Indian Motorcycles.
Seattle-based Lewis will ride with the group from the LA Basin to Sturgis as an embedded journalist for Motorcyclist magazine. Despite writing prominently on motorcycling topics for a number of years, this will be Lewis’s first visit to Sturgis during rally week. He’s happy to be attending on an Indian in homage to “Pappy” Hoel, the Indian dealer who founded the Jackpine Gypsies and put on the original rally in Sturgis, the Black Hills Classic.
Lewis is currently promoting his book Head Check: What it Feels Like to Ride Motorcycles. His previous book, Nothing in Reserve: True Stories, Not War Stories, addresses issues facing deploying soldiers and returning veterans of our contemporary wars.
Chicago-based Allen will join the veteran cohort as it approaches the town of Sturgis, then ride proudly with her fellow vets during the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Freedom Celebration Ride.
Allen is a passionate subject matter expert on the issues facing female U.S. veterans. Allen delivered the 2013 keynote address “Women in the Military” to the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run, and is a board member of the Chicagoland Toys for Tots.
Both Allen and Lewis are notable alumni of the NEA initiative Operation Homecoming, which resulted in two feature films including the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience; two books (one a Washington Post Book of the Year); and a nationwide curriculum for participant war writers.
They are available for speaking and promotion events while at Sturgis.
About Jack Lewis:
Jack has written for Motorcyclist magazine since 2007 and has penned many features that touch on military issues, including “See Americans First” about riding with disabled veterans in Montana.
Jack has authored two books: Head Check: What it Feels Like to Ride Motorcycles (2014, Litsam) and Nothing in Reserve: True Stories, Not War Stories (2011, Litsam). Nothing in Reserve was selected as a Midwest Book Review Reviewer’s Choice in January 2012.
Jack is a life member of the DAV and VFW and a member of the American Legion. His overseas military deployments include the Republic of Korea in 1983-4, and as a PSYOP team sergeant in Iraq in 2004-5.
About Sharon Allen:
Sharon contributed writing to Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front and Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq, and appeared as herself in the film Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. A sought-after speaker, she gave the keynote address at the 2013 Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run.
Sharon is a member of the American Legion and a life member of the VFW, where she serves as chaplain for her post. She was deployed to Iraq as a fueler and engineer, where she promptly mastered conversational Kurdish.