Participants in a motor-biking fundraiser are speaking highly of Black Diamond after a businessman came to the rescue of a Red Deer veteran.
Bob Knight said he had just left Okotoks on his second day of the Rolling Barrage on Aug. 19 when he was told by passing motorists that his motorcycle had a flat tire.
“Just after I turned onto Highway 7 some guy went flying by me and said, ‘Tire, tire, tire,’” said Knight. “A tail gunner pulled over and said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘I’ve got a flat tire.’ He pulled out his cellphone and started calling car shops and motorcycle dealerships.”
Knight said the tail gunner, Mark Doratti of British Columbia, had no luck finding anyone able to help until he reached Navntoft Motorsport owner Nick Navntoft.
When Doratti told Navntoft they were on the Rolling Barrage to raise money to support veterans, serving military members and first responders conquer the stigma of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), Navntoft told Doratti he’d be there in 15 minutes.
“He showed up, loaded the machine by himself with a little bit of help by us and we went to his shop,” he said. “He gave me a heavy-duty tube, balanced everything out and when he finished I said, ‘How much do I owe you?’ and he said, ‘Nothing.’
“I was shocked. He picked me up on the side of the road, takes me to the shop, fixes my problem and wouldn’t accept any money.”
Knight, who retired from the military in 2008 after having joined as a private in the Princess Patricia Light Infantry, suffers from PTSD.
He joined the 11-day Rolling Barrage the day before in Saskatoon after buying his motorcycle in 2014 to help him deal with PTSD.
“Every day is a battle,” he said. “You have to have coping strategies. One of mine is solitude. I can get solitude on a motorcycle.”
Doratti said he noticed Knight checking his back tire as they were heading west on Highway 7 and stopped to lend a hand. That’s when Navntoft came to the rescue.
“Nick showed up and loaded the bike up,” he said. “An hour-and-a-half of his time, shop supplies and a new tube and he got nothing but our thanks. It was pretty cool.”
Navntoft said he was happy to come to their rescue.
“These are people who have given everything to give us a chance at the world we have,” he said. “We are all living in a first world country that is shaped by the past and by all of these people that have given a lot to make it what it is.
“It’s just an hour and a half out of my day. After talking to him I decided that this one could be on me. It seems like a small thing to do.”
Doratti said the act of kindness isn’t unusual during the Rolling Barrage.
“It wasn’t the first time on this ride that somewhere along the way someone benefits from good deeds,” he said. “When you see positive coming out of the community towards something that means so much to Canadians, it’s pretty nice.”
Doratti was one of nine riders who started the ride in Halifax Aug. 5 where they dipped their back tires in the Atlantic Ocean before making their way to the west coast to later arrive in Vancouver on Aug. 21. Some days they pushed 12 hours and travelled more than 700K.
“It’s a lot of work clutching and breaking and the throttle – you have to maintain balance, too,” he said. “You really have to be sharp and aware of what’s around you. If you get tacked by someone, even just glancing off of a fender, the injuries are immediate.”