Purple Heart Marine Helping Fellow Vets by Teaching Motorcycle Classes

by Shelby Scott

Americans frequently celebrate the honor and integrity of our United States service members when they deploy overseas. We say we keep them in our thoughts and pray for their safe return home. However, when they eventually do come home, all too often those same service-members-turned-veterans are forgotten. They are frequently left with little direction to help adjust back to civilian life. Now, after a struggle of his own, one Purple Heart Marine intends to help other veterans through his passion for motorcycles.

According to CBS8, U.S. Marine Dan Lopez enlisted in the military in 2003, when he was just 19 years old. After several tours in the Middle East, he returned home in 2015. Upon his return to the states, the Marine vet said he felt lost and purposeless. His loss of direction came after years spent on various missions.

In order to cope, Lopez now works with a local non-profit. He rebuilds bikes and teaches motorcycling classes to active duty service members. In this way, he rebuilt himself mentally and emotionally. Through his work with fellow veterans, and his experience with motorcycles, Lopez stated he’s found a sense of self-worth.

Of his endeavors with fellow service members and veterans, Lopez said, “This is my mission now.”

However, Lopez’s efforts to help rehabilitate other military veterans aren’t his only method of coping and working. Alongside giving motorcycling lessons and rebuilding bikes, Lopez also runs an organization called K9 Allies. With this particular organization, the Marine veteran hopes to help families train their canine companions. His program helps in keeping both the dog and their human companions safe.

Marine Veteran Took a Long Road to Recovery

While it appears our Marine veteran has truly succeeded in recovery and rehabilitation, it was definitely not an easy road. Upon his return home, Lopez shared he quickly picked up two felonies for assault in addition to getting into a whole bunch of other trouble.

Soon enough, it’s apparent the veteran struggled with depression and, probably, PTSD.

For Lopez, he said, “All of those thoughts start going through your head…suicide, you can’t drink yourself away, you can’t do enough drugs to make you feel better and that is all that I was doing.”

From there, Lopez completed the veterans’ treatment court program before moving Mia and Steve Roseberry’s home. The stay with the couple was temporary as they soon provided him a place of his own at San Marcos, California’s Wounded Warrior Homes.

Of Lopez’s efforts, Steve said, “He really wanted to move on and was willing to do the hard work to get there.”

From here, the Marine veteran pursued his work with his motorcycle program. Just as he found himself meaning and purpose through his recovery and beneficiary program, he hopes to bring that same sense of purpose to veterans across the country upon their return home.

Additionally, Lopez encourages Outsiders that if you know of any struggling veterans as Veterans’ Day approaches, be sure to reach out and seek help.