Keith Helfrich Sergeant Major, US Army (Ret.)
Keith Helfrich grew up in Splendora, Texas.He began riding dirt bikes and motorcycles in junior high and in high school he was into sports, receiving a baseball scholarship for college. He entered college right after high school to get his general Associates Degree. Keith’s uncle had served in Vietnam, and his grandfather served in WWII, it was a family tradition. Keith joined the Army in 1986 as an 11B Infantryman, training in Fort Benning , GA. He competed in the Best Ranger competition and tried out for Special Forces. After two years of training in Fort Bragg, NC, Keith was assigned to 10th Special Forces as an operator 18B (Special Forces Weapons Sergeant). He was promoted and worked as an 18F (Special Forces Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant) and finally as an 18Z (Special Forces Operations Sergeant).
Keith had the privilege of leading the most elite soldiers onto the battlefield as a Team Sergeant and as a Sergeant Major. His combat experience includes Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort II, Bosnia, and Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his contribution in a combined operation with three Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFOD-A) units during Operation Iron Fist. Keith served four tours in Iraq. In 2012, after 26 years of service, he was medically retired with a 100% disability after sustaining his last injury.
Returning home from the military and transitioning into civilian life was not an easy task for Keith. Support from his family helped, but upon returning home, and for quite some time, he primarily isolated himself from society. Motorcycles had been part of Keith’s life since childhood. While in the Army he bought a bike, riding off an on, but after retirement, he stopped riding. It wasn’t until he met Dave Frey and joined the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2016 that he began riding again. Everything took off from there, and his motorcycle therapy experiences began. He now prefers to ride his big V-Twin, being out on the open road which helps relieve his stress. Whenever he experiences anxiety, riding helps to take the anxiety away and helps him to find calm and peace of mind.
Keith has become an active and stalwart member of the VCR Family and has participated in the VCR Year Round MC Therapy, Vet Fam, and Well Vet Programs, and is joining Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2018 again as a Returning Mentor.
I want to thank Veterans Charity Ride for all you’ve done for our family. We started with just a nomination for the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis and have developed lifelong friendships, amazing memories, and a forever support system for me as well as my family. The healing and happiness I’ve experienced in this short period of time takes me to a place I never thought I’d be again. The support of people from across this nation restored my faith that Americans know what we fought for and why. It was so good to be with a group of my brothers again and to be able to talk about issues we deal with trying to get back to a normal life again. Returning as a Mentor for Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2018 is an honor for me. I want to continue to give back to other veterans as much as they, and VCR have given to me. I would love to help every veteran, but if I reach out to just one and change their life, as mine was changed, that would be rewarding and make the experience of being a returning mentor worthwhile.”