Boise, Idaho, May 30—17-year veteran Boise Police Officer Kevin Holtry’s life was changed forever after a shootout with a fugitive on November 11, 2016. As Holtry explained, “We were out looking for a bad guy, a very bad guy, and I found him.” Holtry’s fellow officer Chris Davis and a police dog named Jardo were all wounded in the gunfight that followed. Jardo would later die from the wound he suffered while trying to take down the suspect. Holtry was shot from close range several times with the very first bullet paralyzing him instantly from the waist down. “It sounds weird but I knew within micro-seconds that I was paralyzed. One of my first thoughts was honestly that I wouldn’t be able to ride again… Guess I’ll be selling my bike.” Some of the other wounds and resulting infections prompted doctors to amputate his left leg above the knee.
Holtry admits freely that from the time he was shot and during the weeks of recovery, grueling rehab and trips to see various specialists that the idea of riding a motorcycle again didn’t seem very realistic. But, with the help of a very supportive community in and around Boise, it is now a goal that seems very obtainable.
A 2017 Harley Tri-Glide currently sits on the show room floor at High Desert Harley-Davidson in nearby Meridian, Idaho, and it has Holtry’s name on it. A fellow officer of Holtry approached management at the local Harley store with an idea of getting his wounded friend riding again. “It was an absolute no-brainer for us to do what we can.” said the store’s marketing director Todd Godfrey. “For the sacrifice that Kevin made to make our community safe that’s the very least we could do, get him back on a motorcycle.” The trike will be outfitted with hand controls and techs at the store are working on other modifications to the motorcycle to make it suitable for Holtry. The bike itself, the parts, modifications, labor and accessories could come close to the $60,000 mark.
That’s a hefty price tag but it’s being reeled in a bit by the generosity of the Harley riding community in Idaho. “The people in this store are really behind it.” explains Godfrey. “I’ll walk through the parking lot and people just hand me money and say this is for Kevin’s bike.” High Desert has had some sort of fundraiser going almost non-stop since word got out that the dealership was heading up efforts to get an officer back in the saddle of a Harley again, something that Holtry is very aware of and thankful for when he visits the dealership.
“When I stop in there is a feeling of brotherhood just like there is with a SWAT team. There is this common bond and it’s great. The Harley community is something special,” explained Officer Holtry. “I’m not sure this type of thing would happen at a store with other type of bikes.”
Kevin continues to rehab and work on balance and strength to help him when he gets the chance to “crack the throttle” again for the first time in almost a year. “It will take me some time to figure things out,” he explained. “Learning the controls on my truck was pretty easy but the bike will be different, of course.”
The father of two envisions himself getting acquainted with the Tri-Glide on High Desert Harley’s Learn to Ride facility. High Desert’s Godfrey says, “We want to make sure everything is done just right for Kevin, that the bike is done right and that he’s comfortable with it.”
Holtry, who ironically explained that he was considering trading his Dyna Wide Glide in for a Street Glide or Road Glide in the weeks just before he was shot, tried to sum up what it would mean for him to get back on a motorcycle. “If you ride you get it. There is something about just being out on a perfect day, what you see, the smells when you are out riding—you can just crack the throttle and everything else vanishes.”
“I just wanna ride; it’s nothing more complicated than that,” said Holtry. “As soon as they can get that bike done and as soon as I’m able to ride it, I guarantee I’m gonna be on that thing all of the time.”
Fundraising continues for Officer Holtry. Look for “Get Officer Holtry back on a Harley” at www.gofundme.com or contact High Desert Harley-Davidson in Meridian, Idaho, at 208.338.5599.