To the Editor:

The Killeen Daily Herald did a great job of covering the Project Hero Ride to Recovery “Texas Challenge 2017” last week.

 I was fortunate enough to ride along with them as a motorcycle escort volunteer. It was my first time to do this.

I can honestly report that this is an amazing organization that helps injured veterans and first responders from all services, all wars, and all ranks regain their physical and mental health.  

The “challenge” is to a ride a bicycle (standard or adaptive) 50 to 75 miles in one day with a group of other riders.  The day’s destination is a goal to achieve by overcoming physical or emotional adversity.

The riding group is like a rolling therapy session. They encourage each other to press on even when one is tired or uncomfortable. However, they also understand when someone absolutely needs a rest or some quiet time.  

There are a lot of positive conversations that take place before, during, and after a ride.  

I have never been part of such a positive and uplifting group of people.  The PH R2R, USO, and United Health Care staff members are all very supportive and upbeat.  

The volunteers who drive support vehicles, carry luggage, walk a “service dog” and set-up snack and lunch stops do everything they can to support the R2R riders.  They do it with a smile.  

The riders are amazing in their own right. They care about one another.  They have a common experience base of severe wounds, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  They console and counsel each other in a loving and forthright manner.

The R2R staff knows this bicycle challenge therapy works, and is much cheaper than hospital care. Most of the R2R staff, including the CEO, ride with the group every day on these challenge rides. They also participate in the lives of the riders and call them by name.

If you are someone or know someone who has tried all the traditional ways to deal with traumatic injury or PTSD unsuccessfully,  I would recommend going to the Project Hero Ride to Recovery website: www.projecthero.org. Also, please consider volunteering your time or giving a tax deductable donation to this group.

Your time and money will help many military veterans and first responders get their lives back on track.

We hear every day that we must do a better job of taking care of our veterans and first responders. This is a better way!  

George Van Riper

Harker Heights

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