Bangor Man Will “Flip” This Huge Tire For A Good Cause This Weekend
For the third year in a row, one Bangor man is stepping outside of his comfort zone and flipping one mother of a tire, to raise money for a cause near and dear to his heart; The Maine Veteran's Project.
Mike Laliberte of Bangor is no stranger to overcoming challenges. He was shot in the leg during a hunting accident when he was 12. Now he's 48 years old. The accident left his right leg and foot with deformities and mobility issues.
"I managed to work through it and have been an athlete my entire life. Fast forward to 2015, [I] had someone say to me that 'there is no way you can flip that tire a mile with that messed up leg.' And the tire challenge was born."
In 2019, Laliberte would suffer another setback that would leave him down for a bit, but not out.
"In the winter of 2019 I had a wound on my foot that led to sepsis and osteomyelitis. I made the decision to have the leg amputated and in January of 2020, I had the leg amputated."
Unbelievably, lacking a leg did not stop Laliberte from resuming his "Tire Challenge" and he went on to complete it again in 2020. But in 2021, he was inspired to join his personal challenge with an important cause.
"I decided with the amount of attention that the event received in 2020, that in 2021 and on I wanted to raise funds for a cause. The Maine Veterans Project was an easy choice. With my father a Purple Heart retired marine, and close friends involved in the project it, made sense."
In 2021, Laliberte set a goal to raise $10,000 for the Maine Veterans Challenge, by pushing a 400lb skidder tile one mile, in under 3 hours.
"I have two sons and a wife who support my crazy antics and are as driven as I am."
But his wife and sons aren't the only ones who support Laliberte in his massive effort.
Fellow veteran, Robin Larlee, lives in Orono. The first year he did the flip challenge, she had heard about Laliberte's efforts through a friend's Facebook page and decided to join him that year for his last push.
"I was in the army national guard, I deployed to Afghanistan in 2009-2010 in support of operation enduring freedom. As soon as I heard Mike was doing this, I packed up my 8-month-old and headed to Bangor to find him and support him."
Larlee said watching Laliberte was nothing short of inspiring.
"Walking with him the last quarter mile was absolutely inspiring. You could tell he was getting tired, but he never gave up. You could see the determination on his face, and the determination to finish what he started. He truly is an amazing person for doing this for the Maine veterans project. As a veteran myself, I just wanted to show him that he had support."
Not only did Mike Laliberte finish his tire challenge, that first year, he did so in under 3 hours. It took him 2 hours, 41 minutes, and 41 seconds to complete one mile.
In 2022, Laliberte set the bar even higher.
While still raising money for the Maine Veterans Project, last year he added an element of awareness to his campaign.
"We set a goal of $22,000 in honor of the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day."
And he started training for last year's event while there was still snow on the ground, with a goal to be the prior year's time of 2hrs and 30 mins.
While he fell short by a bit in 2022, like most warriors, Laliberte knows that in life, sometimes you take 2 steps forward, and one step back.
Rather than get down or discouraged, like only the best of us do, he got right back up and started to train for this year's flip.
Once again, with a goal to beat last year's time and raise money for the Maine Veterans Project, Laliberte will make his first tire flip on the morning of June 24th.
"I will once again flip the 400 lb tire 1 mile up and down Maple Street raising money for our local veterans.