Another Veteran receives a bike…

Copied from the Hogs for Heros website… Nick & I were there on June 12…this one was close to home… we are all so honored to have been there to see Neal get the bike of his dreams….LB

You are seeing this post because Primitive Gatherings is making American Flag blocks for a special quilt and raising money for Hogs for Heros!

One Bike at a Time. One Hero at a Time.

And it’s Time…

To Return One More to The Road.

Introducing Our Next Veteran Recipient:


Army Veteran, Sergeant Neal Long

of DePere, Wisconsin

Helping Neal Find His Release and Support
“…(if you select me), could you not make me look like Rambo.
I was a soldier. I was a Sergeant. I led soldiers.
I define myself as a leader, and nothing more.”
— excerpt from his application
High school graduation came and went without any defined plan for Neal Long. Unsure of his life direction and feeling lost, he happened upon a job working as a service assistant at a Colorado Springs Harley-Davidson dealership. He’d been around bikes growing up, rode with his dad and loved the benefit of taking demo bikes out on weekends. He quickly identified and valued the connection riding provided him with his surroundings and himself. Life was good for Neal: he took a few computer classes, hung with friends, and contentedly wrenched bikes for three years…until 9/11. In the silence of the shop that fateful day, the televisions replayed the devastating news. Our Country had been attacked. On our home land. Hurting our citizens. On our collective watch. Those messages and images cycled in Neal’s mind, and it was enough to provide him with the direction and purpose he’d been searching for. He enlisted in the Army two weeks later.
At the time many reacted similarly; in fact, Neal patiently waited almost 2 years for a basic training class to become available. He eagerly worked through it in 2003 and specialized in Military Police, believing it would provide him with more employment opportunities upon separation. Young and hopeful, Neal never imagined the toll war would take on him or his mental health.  He never envisioned himself as a young man separating, and unable to work again. He never thought about the personal costs to him, or his family, as he departed for each of his three combat deployments. Instead, he thought about his Country, it’s liberties, and the people he loved.  Among the numerous medals earned and the pride he feels for his efforts, Neal also brought home PTSD: a deeply invasive injury that left him 100% disabled. And when asked if he’d do it again, knowing the heavy personal toll it took… his answer was a resounding “yes”.
Neal left for Germany in 2004, trained, then flew to Kuwait to move north into Iraq. He worked initially to establish Camp Cuervo in Baghdad’s war zone and, once secured, worked to occupy the Iraqi police stations and rebuild their police force with training and weaponry. Every day they patrolled the congested city checking stations amongst peril, hostility and dissent. Every day they moved door to door to evaluate and eliminate threats. While out, they served as back-up for others encountering firefights and IEDs within the city, and every day Neal saw the injuries and death toll mount. Every day he trained others and grew proud of his developing leadership. He described himself as a “hard charger” and, after a year in Iraq with countless enemy confrontations, he was promoted to Sergeant E5 in minimum time… and then sent back to the States.
He shipped back reluctantly having found purpose in leading others despite the fear, violence and images seared in his mind. Wanting more, he buried his emerging struggles and transferred to Fort Lewis in 2005 where he received permission to redeploy to Iraq almost as soon as he hit the ground. This time Neal joined a unit as a Team Leader conducting route clearance: it was their job to drive 12 hour shifts on the main supply route and look for IEDs. Every day. Look for IEDs. It was a dangerous, high-risk assignment and Neal can’t even count how many times they found IEDs and were hit with gunfire or explosions in the process. He does, however, still recount the names of each Brother he lost, and each Brother and Sister injured, during this rough tour. This time when his deployment ended, Neal was ready to come home. He knew something was wrong and he knew he wasn’t the same; what he didn’t know was what to do about it. So he chose denial: he pushed away the fears and anxiety, and he tamped down images and names. He went about working on base, ignoring the PTSD growing within, until he deployed again a year later, for another one year assignment in Iraq.
In 2007, during this, his third deployment in four years, Neal assumed the position of Squad Leader in command of four teams who quickly developed the skill and reputation for difficult missions. While his leadership motivated many, accomplished much, and earned him a Bronze Star for meritorious service…the strain of it’s responsibility increasingly weighed on him. He was mentally exhausted by the hundreds of trips outside the wire with soldiers in his care. He grew fearful of others being hurt after directions he gave or choices he made, and he took more personal risks to avoid placing another soldier in jeopardy. Growing weary of war’s demands, he realized this needed to be his last deployment. After a year in Iraq, he received a letter from The Red Cross indicating his eldest brother was in hospice and nearing death. Neal took terminal leave for two months and realized his crushing personal need to begin processing separation and disability claims.
While home Neal married Sarah, a fellow Army MP whom he met, and secretly dated, while deployed together. He bought a Buell to reclaim the peace and connection riding once provided him. He sought medical care, counseling and started medications; and to further numb the pain of the war still raging within, he turned to alcohol. Two years after marrying, Neal and Sarah welcomed the first of their four children. In order to pay for the costs of moving and renting a larger place, Neal sold his beloved motorcycle and stayed home to care for his children. He occasionally borrowed his dad’s bike and dreamt of days riding dealership bikes; but the demands of family life simply came first and he repeatedly delayed buying one to pay for the next household need. Without a release, Neal continued drinking excessively to deal with the demons that haunted his days and affected his sleepless nights, and he continued isolating himself from people and social situations. Depression and mood swings took over and clouded his judgement and memory… and together he and Sarah fought to combat war’s excessive toll and continue building a life for their family.
Caring for his family is Neal’s sole purpose and focus, and he lights up when he speaks of his children. Creating tea parties, games, Cinnamon Roll Sundays, and camping trips gives him great pleasure… but also keeps him contained on the home-front and without personal interests or outside involvement. With a service dog to assist him, he’s lessened his anxiety and hypervigilance in public and crowds. Wanting to be a better father, he’s been sober now for two years and continues to focus on incremental steps in healing. Sarah notes he rarely smiles and both feel the need for him to gain personal release and social support, but opportunities are limited or too uncomfortable still. Learning how hard Neal has worked and how far he has come, Hogs For Heroes thought the next step in his healing journey should be to get back on a motorcycle and find support and involvement in the rider community.
“I’ve never seen him smile so much” mused Sarah after we surprised Neal at lunch and, in record time for us, found him the Harley of his dreams just 3 hours later.  He is a kind, sensitive man who was extremely excited by, and appreciative of, his selection. We were stoked to walk back into the arms of our friends at Vandervest Harley-Davidson in Green Bay, and overwhelmed by their generosity in putting Neal on a 2019 Road Glide, in Twisted Cherry, with only 6,800 miles on it. They were ecstatic to work with us again, too, and included a new set of pipes that gave Neal’s heart the extra rumble he loved…and VVHD made it all happen under budget!
Our goal is to get our Recipients on the road as soon as we can and get them connected with those who understand just as quickly. Neal had been thinking of joining the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) if he ever had the chance to ride again. In a beautiful twist of fate, CVMA Chapter 45-3 in the Fox Valley just happened to be hosting a benefit ride for us on this coming June 12, and we decided that would be a perfect place to introduce Neal to the new family and friends he was searching for. We apologize for the short notice on this one, friends, but our focus puts our Veterans first and this man needs to ride.  Therefore, we will be hitching our 19th Presentation of Keys to the end of the their benefit ride!
The CVMA Benefit Ride for Hogs For Heroes is on Saturday, June 12 with registration at 10:00 at The Bee Hive Barn & Grill in Neenah, WI. All vehicles are welcome with departure at 11:00 and plans to return to the Bee Hive by 5:00 pm. All are welcome! Hogs For Heroes will be hanging out at The Bee Hive Barn & Grill from 4 pm – 8 pm, and take the stage at 5:30 p.m. for our 19th Presentation of Keys!  Come hang, have dinner and enjoy live music by Minus One from 6:00 – 10 pm. The Bee Hive will generously be directing 10% of their food and beverage sales back to us during this time– so be sure to fill up on some great food for a cause!
And…the Bee Hive will be carrying Captial Brewery’s HOGS FOR HEROES GOLDEN ALE…just sayin’.

Moda Block Heads 3 Finish!


Thank you all for visiting today….Today I am revealing my Moda Block Heads 3 Quilt!  

 The patterns and the layout are located at the end of this post…

Please sign up for my blog subscription because…THIS is how you will get the FREE pattens for our American Gatherings Stitch Along starting as soon as those best selling MODA AB fat quarter bundles arrive..

ALL the Moda Block Patterns

Finishing Page for this Layout


American Quilter Stitch Along
Join us in MAY 2021 to kick off the summer giving back to our veterans…

Click to Read about HOGS FOR HEROS

Also we be hosting video for this SAL as well on my YouTube Channel

My best…



American Outlander

American Gatherings Book Video…

Want to see ALL the projects in American Gatherings?   Join me as I go through each and everyone one…some are made from jelly rolls, honeybuns, charm squares.  It’s so beautiful to see all the quilt in one spot!

Click the icon to watch!!! Go to to get yourself some of this awesome fabric before it sells out!!!


Lisa Bongean/American Quilters SAL

Hogs for Heros…American Quilter’s Stitch Along/Prep

HOGS FOR HEROES checking in here…and we are stunned, and honored, by this beautiful effort to support our healing mission! We only just learned of Lisa’s generous plan and can hardly believe quilters across the nation will unite to sew their hearts out to benefit veterans’ healing. Thank you!

A little bit about us, because knowing who benefits from your labors is important to your heart. Hogs For Heroes is a small, WI nonprofit created by four family members, none of whom served. We do this volunteer work simply out of gratitude for those who served and sacrificed much on our behalf, and from a desire to provide struggling, at-risk Veterans with a healing alternative: wind therapy, as we Bikers affectionately call it. We raise funds to buy Harley-Davidson motorcycles for Veteran riders who, injured in the course of active duty, find themselves hurting–mentally, physically, emotionally–and unable to have a Bike in their life. We help them heal by gifting them a Harley that allows them to regain peace on the road, control in their life, clarity, pride, and joy…and equally important, support from the rider community and Veteran brotherhoods.

We know motorcycling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… but if it’s your blood its roots run deep and make up an identity, culture, and community for its riders–all things similar to the military, and deeply missed as Veterans separate from service. It is estimated that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide; another compelling reason to offer alternative therapy with a “tool” that is well established in the military community and will support them for years to come. We direct 100% of every donation straight toward the next Bike and Veteran pairing. And because we do this work voluntarily on the side of jobs, family, and life…we thought we would be successful if we could raise funds to gift one Harley a year. Instead, in just a little over 4 years of gifting bikes, we wrapped up our 2020 season by returning SIXTEEN injured Veteran riders back to the road they love on beautiful Harleys. Each Recipient will tell you that our gift has truly changed their life and, in several cases, literally saved their lives. And while our gift is only given to one individual, its positive ripple effect impacts the lives of their spouses, families, friends, employers, and community as they find new outlets, opportunities, and support systems.

Thank you for reading through our nutshell-version to learn about our unique work. And thank you, for participating in this amazing project to support our veterans’ healing needs.

Like what you heard? Be sure to LIKE US on Facebook to stay on top of our activity and announcements! You can learn more about our work and the Veterans we have supported at And, if you’re so inclined, you can donate there too, but I know Lisa is raising funds as well with this stitch along and you may want to contribute to the Quilters effort.

🙂 Peace to all…. and best wishes as you each make these beautiful quilts!  Audra Thompson

If this doesn’t touch you?  I don’t know what does, It has even more impact seeing it in person. May 2019 I watched Rob Thede receive his bike…and with tears streaming down my face that is when I decided I was going to “try” and do this for another vet.  Believing you can is 90% of completing a goal.  It is now time to make that happen.  With this American Quilters Stitch Along WE are going to accomplish it. I hope you’re along for this ride...because I need y’all to do it!  I’m counting on us Quilter’s to make this happen!  Audra left the above info as a comment on my blog but I wanted you all to read it.  She sent this to me after I called her and explained what I wished to do.  We have set up a separate bank account for our funds raised, you will be able to directly donate to it.  I will let you know when that time comes.  But while you are waiting you can start getting ready…

American Quilters SAL/Lisa Bongean

         Here is a PDF of the following info…You may want to print it and start a binder for this project!                                                                                  Click HERE to print SAL Prep


★    Hey Everyone…                                                                                                              

    I am so excited you are going to Stitch-Along with us on this wonderful pattern. This quilt is so much fun and everyone will want it! You now have to decide if you are only going to make one, or more than one! Hopefully, we will be starting on time, but if our fabric is delayed we will have to push it back and start when it is possible!                                       

  I do have an underlying reason for this SAL and that is to raise money for Hogs for Heroes.    

    I hope all of you can help me do this, and we can help change lives for our military veterans. I will be posting more information about this on my blog.                                     


   The American Gatherings Fat Quarter fabric bundle. -Each FQ tower of American Gatherings bought at Primitive Gatherings is an automatic $10 donation for Hogs for Heros.                                                  

★    4 or 6 yards of fabric, for sashing, borders, and bindings. I made one quilt with blue and the other one with cream…I will be making several more with the blocks I will be making while doing the tutorials each week. I have two sizes here just in case you want to make your quilt bigger or add matching pillowcases. The four yards is enough to complete the quilt.                                                                                                                              

★    Starch – I strongly suggest you starch your fabrics prior to cutting them. I will be posting a video on How to Starch your fabrics.  Buy Heavy Duty Faultless starch in blue or purple cans, not gold.  You will need about 2 for this project.

★    ThreadsMy suggestions for threads are any of these three, Aurifil 2309 (cream) 2620            (light/med grey) and 2785 (navy). I personally do not like stitching dark fabrics with light thread…I used the navy for stitching the blue borders on the quilt blocks.                           

★    Small rulers like, 3×7, 6×6, 5×15 Itty Bitty Eights rulers. All of these rulers will be so helpful for cutting these blocks.                                                                                        

★    12½” x 12½’ Creative Grid rulers. This ruler is so helpful in squaring up your finished quilt blocks.                                                                                                                            ★

★    Simple Folded Corner ruler. This tool is awesome…especially if you like perfect blocks.         

★   Optional, but recommended…Single Hole throat plate on your machine. If you have an oblong hole on your machine where the needle goes up and down, you may want to put on a single hole throat plate. These are standard on machines that only stitch straight, but can be purchased for your machine if you do not have one. This prevents the little pieces of fabric from being sucked down into the oblong hole which is standard on machines         


I may share other ideas, tips, and thoughts along the way. I will be posting the block each week on here on my Blog along with weekly giveaways, auctions and other fun…do not miss out!            

 Here are all the places to join in-these are links and when clicked will take you there to sign up. are here…but are you signed up?               

If you are on a computer it is on the right-hand sidebar…if you are on a phone/tablet you will have to scroll to the bottom of this post to sign up…

You-tube channel- Stich with Lisa Bongean

Stitch with Lisa’s Facebook Group.                       

I encourage you to stitch along each week, share your blocks on my Stitch with Lisa’s           Facebook Group, and tag your blocks with #americanquilterssal on Instagram or other social platforms. I know lots of shops will also be hosting this as a Stitch-Along…I am hoping we can get some posts and comments from them as well as showing them all stitching together!                                                                                                           

★   ABBREVIATIONS: I like to use the following abbreviations in the pattern to help from repeating over and over.                                                                                                 

          SFC = Single Folded Corner                                                                                     

         SQ/SQ = Square in a Square                                                                                    

         FG = Flying Geese

         HST = Half Square Triangle                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

★ I will show a couple of different ways to make/stitch the blocks each week. However, you may have a preferred way and you are more than welcome to use your favorite method.           

★Cutting for Blocks: 

In the first week, I will give you the cutting for all the red and cream stripes. You can choose to cut one block each week OR stack and cut ALL of your blocks (20) for the whole quilt the first week.         

 When stacking your fabrics, pay attention to the direction of the stripes. You may want them to run the short way on some prints and/or the long way. This is certainly up to you. (But keep this in mind when you are stacking and cutting your strips.) These strips are also cut longer and will be trimmed down later. I find this much easier with this many strips involved.                                                                                                                        

 ★ Use a scant ¼” seam allowance and test it to make sure you are not too big or too small.                                                                      

 I just found out our FQ bundles will be delayed….there are so many on the order they need a little more time!.   This gives us a little extra time to gather our things and get ready….so no worries, we will start with the first block when the fabric is on it’s way to us from Dallas.   It’s a time of adaptability.  I will redo the 20 bock schedule so we have all the blocks by Memorial Day! Lisa     

Print this for the cover of your binder…there is a PDF  link button below.             

Lisa Bongean/American Quilters SAL           PDF Cover for American Quilters SAL                                                                                 

That is all for now…I hope you are as excited as I am to get this project started!     

I’ll be in touch….Lisa