Rediscovering a sense of camaraderie among fellow warriors is as important to the Soldier Ride® experience as the actual ride.
SAN DIEGO (August 3, 2017) – When Marine Corps veteran Nicole Robinson arrived in San Diego, she had two goals – to support the other warriors around her and stay positive. She attended Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Soldier Ride® with 40 wounded veterans to connect with them while challenging herself during the multi-day bicycling event.
“Adaptive sports are really important, and they helped saved my life,” Nicole said. “After my injury got really bad, I missed running, hiking, and staying active.”
Like all of WWP’s physical health and wellness programs, Soldier Ride is adaptable to the stage of recovery of each wounded veteran. At the start of every Soldier Ride, warriors are fitted with adaptive cycling equipment to accommodate injuries and make the ride as comfortable as possible. For Nicole, this was especially important with her severe injury that greatly limits her mobility.
“The handcycle allowed me to start moving again,” she said. “Getting on that machine changed my life. Since then, I’ve done adaptive swimming and sled hockey. Wounded Warrior Project has been so supportive of me during this time.”
WWP empowers the warriors it serves to thrive in the civilian world. Rediscovering a sense of camaraderie among fellow warriors is as important to the Soldier Ride experience as the actual ride.
“It’s been a very good experience to accomplish this ride together, instead of it being a race,” said Navy veteran Jeshua Rango. “We’re here for each other. We’re communicating with each other – alerting each other to bumps in the road, but also just talking about where we’ve been in our lives.”
During previous events, Jeshua had been more reserved about his service and kept to himself. However, he found himself opening up during the San Diego ride.
“I don’t really talk much about my disability or the things going on in my life,” he said. “But with this group especially, I was able to connect and talk to them about their experiences, and how they handled certain adversities. Knowing there are others who understand what you’ve been through is powerful.”
In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues. The same survey found 29.6 percent of survey respondents expressed physical activity helps them cope with stress and emotional concerns.
“This ride was about forgetting about daily stressors and just enjoying the scenery, and uplifting one another,” said Rahkeim Crawford, a Marine Corps veteran. “I push through my pain – it’s there, but I see others riding beside me. There’s always someone going through something worse than you are; if they can push through, I can push through it too. Once you’re all brought together, there’s an automatic connection that is unspoken. The everyday civilian can’t compare to what we’ve been through, but other service members know exactly what it’s like. That’s why I’m grateful that Wounded Warrior Project hosted this event. It’s been a blessing for me, but also for my brothers and sisters around me.”
To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org. To find photos from this Soldier Ride, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.