Injured military veterans bike to 9/11 memorial
WEST GOSHEN >> In an effort to preserve the memory of the lives lost and sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001, and to help one another recover from the physical and mental injuries suffered during their time in military service, approximately 100 military veterans stopped by West Chester on their 330-mile bike ride Tuesday.
The veterans, part of the Ride 2 Recovery program, began their bike trip in Arlington, Virginia, on Sunday, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
From there, the bikers have stopped at several locations on the way to their ultimate destination, the 9/11 memorial in New York City. They plan to arrive Sept. 14.
The mission Ride 2 Recovery is to help veterans and other first responders support one another through injuries they have suffered.
“Ride 2 Recovery has helped me to enjoy the country that I’ve fought for,” said Ricky Senella, an Iraq war veteran who joined the military because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Senella was injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. He said the blast covered him in
burns and killed his platoon leader.
After the attack, he said he was prescribed medicine for migraines and nightmares, and later turned to alcohol and cocaine.
Now, after getting involved with Ride 2 Recovery, he said he’s clean and only taking one medication.
“Maybe one day I won’t need any meds, with the way it’s looking,” he said.
Senella, along with others, say being able to bike ride with other injured veterans has helped with recovery, both mentally and physically.
“Instead of picking up bottles of pills, I pick up my bike now,” he said. “The only people who understand are these people.”
Other veterans shared similar stories about time served in the military and about Ride 2 Recovery helping them overcome emotional and physical scars.
The veterans stopped at Schramm Inc., at 800 East Virginia Ave., shortly before 1 p.m. for lunch, split themselves into two groups based on biking speed, and left within 20 minutes of each other.
Herrs, Clemens Food Group, Avondale Machine Products, TransEdge Truck Centers, and Bolmar Associates all donated to Ride 2 Recovery’s cause, which is primarily sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.
Ride 2 Recovery has two branches near Chester County, one in Lebanon and Horsham. Veterans wishing to get involved with the Horsham branch can email Claudia Malone at Claudia. Malone@ang.af.mil, and Mike Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org for Lebanon’s branch.
Ride 2 Recovery bikers left from Schramm shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday Before leaving, they ate lunch donated by a number of sponsors.
Ride 2 Recovery bikers draw support from each other as they bike. The bikers are veterans and first responders.