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Sahlen, DiPietro, Orange County Choppers to build wall for vets

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Tue, Dec 18th 2018 04:55 pm

Custom motorcycle donated for permanent veterans wall in East Aurora

Joe E. Sahlen, president of Sahlen Packing Co., on Tuesday announced the company will sponsor construction of a custom motorcycle by renown designers Orange County Choppers to help raise money for a permanent veterans memorial in East Aurora’s Knox Farm State Park.

“We’re proud to join Assemblyman David DiPietro in support of installing a permanent tribute to our nation’s veterans in Western New York,” Sahlen said. “And we’re truly excited to work in a remarkable partnership with the folks at Orange County Choppers to make this happen.”

DiPietro recently engaged OCC, the renowned custom motorcycle design shop featured on Discovery Channel’s show “American Chopper,” seen in 160 countries. The team will design and build a bike to be featured on a February 2019 episode of the show and raffled to raise money to help fund the wall.

“I’m humbled to be a part of this incredible project, and proud to work alongside local veterans to make this happen,” DiPietro said. “People without the means or ability to travel to our great national memorial sites will have a unique opportunity to respect and share in the experience of honoring our heroes right in East Aurora.”

“This will be a singular chopper, like no other, designed to honor our veterans and reflect the uniqueness of the Knox Farm installation,” said Orange County Chopper Vice President of Marketing Santos Lopez. “In our experience, this project will make the state park a national destination for veterans, their families and all Americans.”

To make this all happen, Sahlen agreed to donate the cost of design and construction of the custom chopper. The bike build and filming of the “American Chopper” episode began in early December. The bike will be completed in late January, and will be unveiled in East Aurora.

The idea for installing a permanent veterans wall in Knox Farm State Park came from area veterans. American Legion Post 362 in East Aurora recently agreed to purchase the wall from American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT), which brought the veterans tribute to Knox Farm State Park in 2009.

In a commitment to America’s veterans, Sahlen Packing Co. has donated the six-figure cost of the custom motorcycle to assure the project is successful and the permanent veterans wall is certain to be installed in Knox Farm State Park.

The 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C., will be eight feet tall and 360 feet long, containing all 58,317 names engraved by veterans on high-gloss anodized aluminum.

The wall will cost approximately $475,000 plus installation and site design, all privately funded. As the assemblyman for Erie and Wyoming counties, DiPietro helped organize state approval of the Knox Farm State Park location, and secured a $100,000 grant for installation of the permanent display.

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