JACKSONVILLE — At least 5,000 bikers are expected to take part in this weekend's Carolina Bike Rally at Cabin Creek Campground in Jacksonville.
Its guest of honor and grand marshal, Zachary Fincannon, is expected to arrive from Stony Point on his custom-made "chopper trike," to participate in his first rally, and also mark the 4-year anniversary of the day he was seriously wounded in Fallujah.
Fincannon, a retired lance corporal and machine gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, was wounded April 26, losing his left arm at the elbow. His father, a motorcycle enthusiast, was determined to make his son's dream of owning a bike come true, said his mother, Linda Fincannon.
"He went into Marine Corps straight out of high school and always wanted to have [a motorcycle], and planned on getting one when he got home so he could ride with his dad -- then he was wounded and didn't think he would ever be able to ride one," she said.
Zach's father, Danny, and a good friend built him a three-wheeled bike. That was the day the "chopper trike" was born, said Linda.
"They put their heads together and figured out a way to put the clutch where it could be used by a foot which they called a "suicide shifter," she said.
"This will be the second summer he will be riding and the first bike rally he's ridden in, and what better one to be in."
Proceeds from the rally will benefit Hope for the Warriors, a non-profit organization that provides support to wounded service members and their families.
Linda said she and Zach's wife Terri drove in from Stony Point to watch Zach and his father and friends pull into the campground.
"He was just so excited when he was invited - one of his friends he was in boot camp with came from Knoxville, and six or seven of them and his dad are all riding in together," she said.
Terri is excited about seeing her husband's arrival.
"I want to videotape it," she said. "I'm very proud of him; he's come a long way. I was terrified when he got the bike, but I knew he could do it - he's stubborn and headstrong and when he puts his mind to do something, he's going to do it. I am nervous every time he gets on it, but I want and am hoping I will get to see him ride in."
She said she noticed a big change in him after he received the bike.
"He has so much more to look forward to," she said.