More than 150 wounded warriors set off from a north San Antonio hotel this morning on a 400 mile bicycle ride to Ft. Worth, the 10th annual United Healthcare Texas Challenge, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The ride benefits Project Hero, a non-profit that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury.
For wounded veteran Jonathan Dade says it is also a great bonding event that brings together veterans suffering from physical or emotional challenges due to their service.
"It is really important for camaraderie, and it is also important for the healing of these wounded veterans," he said.
"Some suffer from anxiety, thoughts of suicide, PTSD," he said.
On the way up to Ft. Worth, the veterans will stop at schools and veterans facilities, meeting with students and fellow veterans. Dade says not only is the ride therapeutic, it is also a demonstration even with physical and emotional challenges, America's veterans are strong and ready for new opportunities in the civilian world.
"We don't see ourselves victims," he stressed. "We are overcomers. Whether you are missing an arm, or if you have had a traumatic experience."
Some of the veterans who suffered from limb loss will be riding on hand cycles and recumbent bikes, but he says all will be welcome and everybody will gain greatly from the opportunity.
He says not every participant was wounded in war. He cites one woman who suffered 'sexual violence' during her time in the military, and she has used the annual event to recover as well.
"Many veterans suffer additional problems when they come back to the states, and this ride helps everybody recover."
PHOTO COURTESY: PROJECT HERO