Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride set for Saturday

Author: Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 28 2014 04:50:09 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 28 2014 06:02:22 PM EST
PONTE VEDRA, Fla -

It's a big weekend in Jacksonville for the Wounded Warrior Project. The nonprofit headquartered here is bringing in military from across the country to participate in Soldier Ride.

They'll be holding a golf clinic Friday at TPC Sawgrass and riding all around Ponte Vedra, biking about 18 miles before the big ride Saturday.

The wounded warriors have traveled from all over the United States, some serving in the Army, the Navy, and the Marines. All have one thing in common: They're working to overcome physical, mental, or emotional combat wounds.

"Warriors coming from everything from PTSD, traumatic bone injury, we have amputees," said Amanda Becker, of the Wounded Warrior Project. "We have all different types of what we like to call abilities coming to this bike ride, and they’ll get to meet new people, make friends and build bonds that they haven’t been able to in a while since they’ve served."

The Wounded Warrior Project puts on 19 Soldier Rides around the country every year. It's basically rehab through cycling.

"It really gets the warriors out of their homes, it gets them back on a bike and they can do it and be whatever they want to be, do whatever they want to do no matter what their injuries are," Becker said.

In addition to golfing at TPC and participating in the two big bike rides, the warriors will also take part in a Publix cooking class. After the 18-mile ride Friday, they'll bike all the way down State Road A1A to St. Augustine, a 25-mile trip. Most importantly, they'll have the opportunity to share experiences and bond with one another.

"It's really one of those activities that anyone can do," Becker said. "And some of the warriors are like, 'Wow, I haven’t really biked since I was 6 years old,' and then they get on it and realize they can do it and they have fun doing it. And it's something they can go back home and do with other people, with their families."

People are more than welcome to be a part of this on Saturday by gathering to send the warriors off from Mickler's Landing around 9 a.m. or greeting them at the St. Augustine visitor center and cheering them in around 11:30 a.m. or noon.