Miami.- Amid public applause and a military salute from local police, the adaptive cycling race began on January 4 in Miami Beach. Soldier RideNo The Wounded Warrior Project. 40 veterans traveled 9 miles from Finnegan Way in South Beach to Londepot Park, escorted by numerous members of the police on bicycles, motorcycles and patrol cars.
The race, which is held in Miami And Key WestThis is South Florida’s way of recognizing veterans as well as current patients of Walter Reed Medical Center.
Two decades of support for veterans
It’s been 20 years since a bicycle morning rode 5,000 miles from coast to coast to recognize the sacrifices of wounded veterans after 9/11. Thus he was born Soldier Ride.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride is a unique multi-day cycling event in support of the nation’s warriors who need a community hug. The race is one of the organization’s most influential programs, as it provides a space for them to share and exercise their bodies and minds.
Veterans who suffer in silence have the opportunity to build healthy social bonds here, which reduce stress and depression and help reduce the risk of suicide. Likewise, they move together as a team, during their military service.
James HerreraWWP’s head of physical health and wellness program told DIARIO LAS AMÉRICAS “The important thing is to improve the social connections of our veterans; many of them suffer in silence. The Soldier Ride unites them as brothers and sisters, as they did . during their service time. This reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. It’s very important for them to go out and develop these friendships.”
Herrera, a former Olympic cycling coach for the US team and with a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Texas at El Paso, added that “we really believe that physical wellness is a very important part of a veteran’s quality of life.” “Our programs focus on mental health, physical health, social wellness and financial wellness. We want to take that holistic approach.”
“Every day I remember that I love what I do. When an experienced person comes and tells me that they have improved their physical health by cycling or playing sports, I feel great about what the organization is doing. is,” Herrera said. Just this January 4th he celebrates his ninth year in WWP.
And he added: “I met a veteran who told me she had lost 200 pounds cycling and felt like a completely different person.”
For his part, the veteran JOSE ORLANDO DE LEON DIAZ He said he met WWP a few months ago: “I hadn’t connected with any veterans for many years. I joined the American Legion, and I started meeting people who had other kinds of communities, like this one.”
On the benefits of being associated with WWP, De Leon, who served for almost 5 years and was also on a mission in Afghanistan, highlighted that “It’s something else, it’s such a big impact that I don’t know how to explain. , you have to live it.”
More about the Wounded Warrior Project
The Soldier Ride allows the community to celebrate veterans while riding their bikes through local streets.
The 2022 survey conducted by WWP, which considers veterans registered with this entity, provides important data about this community.
- They feel lonely: 78%
- They consider themselves obese or severely obese: 51.9%
- Their sleep quality is poor: 90.3%
The same survey showed that after participating in WWP Soldier Ride events, 93% of veterans said they felt more confident in themselves. Veterans who stay connected to military buddies are 57% less likely to develop symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began in 2003 as a small grassroots effort to provide simple care and comfort items to the hospital beds of the first wounded service members returning home from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As their post-service needs evolved, so did the programs and services. Today, through direct mental health programs, professional counseling and long-term rehabilitative care, along with advocacy efforts, WWP improves the lives of millions of veterans and their families.
Since 2003, the organization has served more than 200,000 post-9/11 veterans and family members, disbursing more than $2 billion in services. Its direct programs have provided more than 1.8 million actions, including connection, mental health and wellness, physical health, financial wellness support, and long-term support for the seriously injured.
WWP strives to ensure that when service members return home, they have every opportunity to succeed as civilians as they did in the military.