Project Hero Pinellas
Pinellas County, Florida
Bio: Ride 2 Recovery’s Tampa Bay area local group, known as Project HERO Pinellas, is a riding group dedicated to helping injured veterans recover through cycling. The ultimate goal of these healing heroes is to participate in one of R2R’s Challenge Rides – multi-day events that cover 350-450 miles. Ride 2 Recovery started in 2008 with a telephone call from a recreational therapist with the VA to John Wordin. This therapist thought cycling would be an alternative therapy to PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as well as physical injury rehabilitation and thought John was the person to create the program they had in mind. The first Ride 2 Recovery Challenge event was held with fourteen riders and no additional staff. By 2010, R2R held six Challenges across the US with an average of 170 participants per ride: the Texas Challenge – from San Antonio to Dallas; the Memorial Challenge – from Washington DC to Virginia Beach; the Rocky Mountain Challenge – from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Colorado Springs; The Great Lakes Challenge – from Minneapolis to Milwaukee; the Golden State Challenge – from San Francisco to Los Angeles; and the Florida Challenge – from Tampa to Jacksonville. In 2011, R2R was up to seven Challenges per year (Texas, Memorial, Florida, Golden State, Great Lakes, and the 9/11 American Challenge which began in the shadows of Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and rode through Shanksville, PA, finishing at the Pentagon). The seventh Challenge of 2011 introduced our first Challenge in Europe, The Normandy Challenge, which traced the steps of D-Day and subsequent battles. In 2012, R2R took 147 riders through Belgium and Luxembourg to ride the Battle of the Bulge Challenge in addition to Texas, Memorial, and Golden State, added the new Gulf Coast Challenge – New Orleans to Tallahassee; the new Minuteman Challenge – Boston to New York; and the new Bluegrass Challenge – Cincinnati to Nashville. Challenges are limited to 200 participants. Now, each one sells out early and has a lengthy waiting list, attesting to the power of the Ride 2 Recovery program. If you would like to learn more about this worthy organization, go to http://www.ride2recovery.com/.