By Danielle McCarthy Everett
As the sun rises on another Central Texas morning, light streams into Rob Neumeyer’s motorcycle repair shop, KMA Cycles on Holland Road in Belton. About a dozen motorcycles fill the small space inside the shop. Each one roars to life as Neumeyer, 36, moves the bikes outside into the open before beginning his daily repair work. The job is a change in pace from Neumeyer’s previous one – a career in the United States Marine Corps.
Living in West Virginia at the young age of 17, the decision to join the Marine Corps as an infantryman was obvious to Neumeyer. Because he was so young, Neumeyer said his mother had to sign papers allowing him to join and continue a family tradition of military service.
“I love my country and I grew up in a very patriotic family,” said Neumeyer. “That was just the thing in my family that you had to do – you had to serve your country.”
Before retiring and moving to Belton, Neumeyer achieved the rank of gunnery sergeant, was deployed three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. During those tours, he sustained several injuries. He said the experience gave him honor, loyalty and respect for the United States and its veterans.
“You have to take care of other vets,” Neumeyer said. “We’re all a big family.”
His respect for others who have served in any capacity is now central to his business in Belton. Neumeyer offers discounts to military and veterans, as well as to law enforcement officers past and present, emergency medical service workers and other civil servants.
“Someone’s got to show them appreciation,” Neumeyer said. “Seventeen years in the Marine Corps, sometimes I didn’t get appreciation.”
Neumeyer said he and his wife, Erin, settled in Belton two-and-a-half years ago after having always wanted to live in Texas.
“I love Belton,” said Neumeyer. “I’m glad we moved here. I think everybody supports the military and it seems like everyone kind of knows each other. I just really love living in Belton and now I love working in Belton.”
Neumeyer said his military service helps him connect with customers on a personal level. One customer, Debra Hopkins of Holland, who is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, said Neumeyer’s service means a lot to her.
“I knew right away of his integrity and honor and honesty, that’s what meant the world to me,” Hopkins said.