The July 4 holiday weekend is a great time to celebrate and reflect on our freedoms, which makes this the perfect time to introduce you to one of our country’s true heroes. Bill Geiger exemplifies all of the qualities that make up High Seas Rally’s mission: Biker, Warrior, Giver, Leader.
Bill completed two deployments with the U.S. Army, as a military police officer guarding high-value detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Camp Bucca, Iraq. He’s a hero for his bravery and sacrifice, but the internal battles he faced didn’t stop when he returned home to civilian life.
He was a changed man, struggling with anger, depression and intense emotions stemming from his service. He later learned he had PTSD. He ultimately found the Wounded Warrior Project, which helped Bill get his life back. He is now paying that forward as a member of WWP’s National Campaign Team.
We are excited that Bill will be among the Warriors sailing on the High Seas Rally in 2022 free of charge. The cruise kicks off HSR’s expanded charitable mission of supporting our military and the Wounded Warrior Project in addition to our Dialysis Fund.
Get to know more about Bill in the Q&A below as we gear up for the first-ever All-Inclusive High Seas Rally, packed with a full ship of Bikers, Warriors, Givers and Leaders.
HSR: What led you to the Wounded Warrior Project and how has the organization helped turn your life around?
Bill Geiger: Prior to my first WWP event, I had been receiving treatment at the Vet Center and the VA, but I knew there had to be more than an office with a window and a doctor inside, so I started looking and found WWP. Their approach to mental health was different and included so much more than that. One of the biggest things for me was the opportunity to meet other veterans, talk to them, listen to their stories, and, of course. have them listen to mine. It makes you realize that you are not alone, this is not a battle you have to fight on your own, and there are in fact people that care. Knowing there are people who are always there for me — WWP staff and other vets — has helped keep me moving forward on this tough journey.
HSR: What advice do you give our troops returning home?
Bill Geiger: No matter what you might have faced, experienced or witnessed, asking for help is never a sign of weakness. There are people that care and organizations like WWP whose sole purpose is to support veterans.
HSR: What have you heard about High Seas Rally and what are you looking forward to most?
Bill Geiger: As soon as I found out about the opportunity to attend this amazing event I went online and started researching it; and I like what I have read. Of course, I am looking forward to doing “biker things” with fellow riders (I will leave it at that :-)) I am also really looking forward to being able to share this time with my wife. She has been my main support system and the glue that holds my crazy house together.
HSR: What inspired your love of riding and how has it helped you in life?
Bill Geiger: My senior year in high school, I participated in a fundraiser to pay for my senior trip, but I did not go on the trip. I used the money for a Kawasaki 440 LTD and haven’t looked back. There was something in me that knew I wanted to ride and whatever that is, it has never left. For me riding is calming, almost surreal at times. As the saying goes, sometimes you need a crooked road to get your mind straight.
HSR: What kind of bikes have you owned over the years?
Bill Geiger: 1984 Kawasaki 440 LTD, 1998 Honda Shadow Spirit VT1100, 2001 Kawasaki ZX9r, 2002 Honda VTX, 1800, 2005 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, 2007 Harley Davidson Street Glide (current bike).
HSR: What are your most memorable rides?
Bill Geiger: In 2007 a friend of mine, with whom I deployed twice, had just gotten home from a third deployment, and we decided to take a ride. It took us from Tallahassee up to the Tail of the Dragon, through part of the blue ridge parkway to Lynchburg, Va. From there to Myrtle Beach, SC, Savannah, GA, and back home. We stopped to see a few guys we had deployed with and talked about old times. More recently, my 15-year-old daughter has started riding with me. I think she might enjoy riding more than I do. The fact that my bike gives us something we both love to do together is priceless. Taking a ride somewhere on the coast to eat, talking about life, and just getting to spend time with her — it just doesn’t get better than that.
HSR: The High Seas Rally and the biker community in general is home for tons of veterans. Why do you think motorcycles are so appealing to those who have served?
Bill Geiger: The people, the freedom, the beauty, the wind, the “mindless” activity that allows you to forget everything except which way the road goes. I am more comfortable around bikers and vets than any other group of people. I would rather be standing on Main St. in Daytona with 10,000 bikers than be in a movie theater with 10 “normal” people.