Corporal Christopher Belchik was a 1992 graduate of Alton High School. He later went on to follow his ambitions to become a United States Marine in 2001. During his second deployment to Iraq in 2004, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, CPL Belchik was killed in action on August 22nd, 2004 by a roadside bomb. CPL Belchik had made a great impact on those with whom he had served. He was highly spoken of and respected. Some of the many praises written in memory were "Cpl. Belchik had the biggest heart a Marine can ever have," "A great leader and man," "he was about a good friend and leader as your gonna get" and "He was an awesome Marine and an even better man."
When stateside, Belchik had a passion for riding his motorcycle that he bought while stationed at Camp Lejeune. He was proud of his 1995 Suzuki Katana, even though many poked fun at him for its purple-ish color. His Mom, Lynn Lenker, talked of the day that he came home with it while on leave. Belchik anxiously brought his family outside to see his new ride, only to have it not start after the long ride home. None-the-less, Belchik was proud of his motorcycle. This was his motorcycle. There are many like it, but this one was his. Through the help and wishes of Belchik's family, and in the spirit of his service, sacrifice, and dedication to his Brothers in Arms, CPL Belchik's motorcycle has been transformed into a rolling memorial for all members of our Military who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country.
Sponsored by US Veterans Foundation of Alton, a 501(c)(3) Public Charity devoted to Veteran support efforts, assisted by CPL Belchik's brother, Brian Belchik, and services provided by Pinto's Kustoms of East Alton, the transformation began. Belchik's Katana, shown here outside of Ted's Motorcycle World in Alton in the Fall of 2014 still sporting some of its purple colors, was at the beginning stage of that transformation.
The Belchik Rolling Memorial Bike was unveiled on December 19th, 2015, at the Iron House Crossfit Gym in Godfrey. Brian Belchik, Christopher's brother, saw the bike for the first time since its transformation. It was an emotional reunion for the family.
Brian then took his brother's bike for the first ride. It had been over 7 years since the last time he had ridden it. It was a brisk morning at about 30 degrees. When Brian returned from his ride he said, "it felt good." When someone asked if it felt cold, he said, "it didn't feel cold. It felt warm." Brian said that the bike was "no longer mine." The bike will be ridden with the Patriot Guard and to other Military events to Honor all members of our Military.
The Belchik family was in attendance, grateful and honored by this tribute. This family is proud of their Marine. Family members seen here (below): Steve and Jeanie Belchik; Jim and Lynn Lenker; Brian and Jennifer Belchik; along with Ethan Humbert of Pinto's Customs; and Jason Thompson and Greg Love of US Veterans Foundation.
Seen here (above right) at CPL Belchik's grave, covered in its annual Christmas evergreen blanket, Brian Belchik proudly stands with his brother's tribute motorcycle. This tribute motorcycle is to Honor not only a respected Marine and member of our community, it is also about Honoring the Legacy of all those who have served and sacrificed.