Legion attends R2R ceremony at Bethesda

On Nov. 22, representatives from The American Legion attended a Ride 2 Recovery event at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md. Jacob Gadd, deputy director for Health Care, and Denise Bullock, a Legion senior field service representative, were present at the naval facility for a ceremony that brought recognition to the cyclists who participate in Ride 2 Recovery, a program that raises money for spinning and cycling programs at VA facilities.

Providing remarks at the gathering were Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, and John Wordin, Ride 2 Recovery program founder and president. Other attendees included Rear Adm. Matthew Nathan; Captain Evon “Bernie” Carter, director of Navy Safe Harbor; Peggy Thomas, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Committee; several Bethesda military officers and enlisted staff; as well as 30 wounded warrior cyclists just returning from a Ride 2 Recovery week-long cycling event in Florida.

Speaking to attendees, Roughead said, “Ride 2 Recovery helps injured servicemembers and veterans reach beyond their limits.” He expressed excitement for Ride 2 Recovery’s upcoming expansion from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Additionally, Roughead stressed the Navy’s commitment to wounded warriors, calling it extensive and deeply rooted. Quoting Albert Einstein, he said, “life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

The Ride 2 Recovery program uses cycling as a therapeutic aid for wounded warriors, giving them direction, motivation and tenacity in their transition back to civilian society.

Wordin said of the program and its planned expansion: “I’m proud and honored that wounded warriors at the National Naval Medical Center will now participate in expanded indoor spinning and with seven national outdoor Ride 2 Recovery challenges.” Wordin also thanked the sponsors who make Ride 2 Recovery possible, including The American Legion Family.

The Legion partnered with Ride 2 Recovery by resolution in the spring of 2009 at the National Executive Committee meeting in Indianapolis. Since the relationship formed, American Legion departments have supported Ride 2 Recovery events in California, Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Texas. Departments support Ride to Recovery by coordinating Legion Rider escorts, volunteering and organizing post dinners and rest breaks for cyclists. At the 2010 National Convention in Milwaukee, The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission organized a welcome ceremony and reception for more than 40 wounded warrior cyclists that rode over 350 miles from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. Those cyclists participated in the convention’s parade.

For more information about The American Legion’s participation in Ride to Recovery, click here. (http://legion.org/troops/ride)