AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - A group of veterans in South Florida are getting ready for a major bicycle ride.
It’s a journey that benefits both body and soul after COVID-19 canceled last year’s event.
Veterans are eager as ever as they get ready to ride.
“No one fights alone,” said Rich Gierbolini, an Air Force and Navy veteran.
And that message is at the core of the Wounded Warrior Project bringing back their Soldier Ride to South Florida after a pandemic pause in 2021.
More than 40 injured veterans participated in this year’s Soldier Ride Miami-Key West.
It all started Wednesday as vets were fitted in Aventura, getting their wheels ready for the long cross-county trip.
“The Soldier Ride empowers them to just keep moving, to live a good life, and to be as healthy as possible, mentally and physically,” said Bill Hayes, of the Wounded Warrior Project and a Navy veteran.
This is an annual event, but it’s the first time since the start of the pandemic they’ve been able to hold something this big.
Back in early 2020 dozens of riders left South Beach and headed for Marlins Park.
For the vets taking part in the ride, it’s an experience that fills them with joy.
“To see the people in the streets cheering us on and honking their horns, it gives me a sense of pride and you know, it makes me smile,” said Michelle Vigil, a Navy veteran.
This special ride is meant to empower these heroes to help them overcome the scars of war and the wounds that, for some, maybe aren’t as visible.
“I along with other people suffer from PTSD, and it just kind of brings a sense of unity. I think, the most thing that we miss with being in the military is camaraderie, so when I do get the opportunity to join a Wounded Warrior Project event, that camaraderie comes right back,” said Vigil.
“Not all veterans have their disabilities are obvious. There’s a lot of other people that have things going on inside them that people don’t realize,” said Gierbolini.
For information on the Wounded Warrior Project, click here.
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