John Boury has called North Dakota home since 1999. The Wisconsin native discovered his love of motorcycles and the feeling of freedom he got from riding them growing up on his family farm.
“I've had bikes my whole life. It’s just the freedom and how you smell all the smells, and you feel the cold or the rain. It's a feeling of being alive, I guess,” explains John.
After serving in the Air Force, John settled down near Grand Forks where he would eventually meet his wife, Deb.
“He came to meet me, and we hit it off,” explains Deb.
Despite John’s love of motorcycles, Deb wasn’t initially as impressed with them.
“I told him, I don't think I'd feel safe on that, so I wouldn't get on the regular motorcycle,” recalls Deb. “But then he decided, what if I sell this and get a trike?”
After taking a ride on the trike, Deb reluctantly let John keep it and soon, rides together became something the couple looked forward to.
“We would go on little rides and get treats and stuff like that,” said John.
Those rides on the trike ended abruptly on July 12, 2021. While enjoying a morning ride to work, John was hit by a driver who ran a stop sign.
“When I showed up on scene John was leaving in the ambulance. His trike was laying in the intersection on its side,” explains Seargent Christopher Schaefer of the North Dakota Highway Patrol. “There was a helmet nearby and some high visibility gear there. When I heard he was unresponsive, that was a good indication that we've got a serious problem.”
After being transported to Grand Forks Hospital, John was quickly moved to Fargo. From there, he was airlifted to Minneapolis due to the severity of his injuries. John woke up days later at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
“I couldn't process it because it was such a beautiful day and perfect conditions,” said John. “I had a bright yellow, reflective jacket, bright yellow gloves, my helmet, my head light on. I just couldn't understand how this happened.”
Despite the seriousness of John’s injuries, he survived.
"I have no doubt the helmet saved my life," said Boury. "The doctors can do amazing things putting you back together, but you have to survive that crash. And I'm sure I wouldn't have without a helmet."
Because of his decision to wear a helmet, John received the “Saved by the Helmet” award from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
“John had a family to return home to. He was on his way to work, and he put on his helmet. That says a lot about a person to take the time to think about what a small action could do and what it could mean to your family if something happens on the road,” explains Sgt. Schaefer.
There's not a day that doesn't go by that I don't appreciate my life,” said John. “I can't even put into words how grateful I am to be alive.”
The rides to get treats are done in a vehicle now, but to the Boury’s that’s just fine.
“Our vehicle doesn’t bypass the Dairy Queen. That's kind of a treat of ours,” says Deb. “We have another day to celebrate.”
“The crash has happened so fast. In the blink of an eye,” said John. “I cannot stress enough how much I urge everyone to just wear the helmet. I wouldn't be here.”