Veteran support organization the Road Warrior Foundation is hosting an international ride that will see eight wounded veterans trekking from Canada to Key West. The “adventure therapy” event, which takes place from June 5-12, stops in Asheville on Tuesday, June 9, with a welcome rally scheduled for 4-5 p.m., at Twin Leaf Brewery. In addition to being a healing activity for the wounded riders, the event aims to raise awareness of veteran issues among elected officials, civic leaders and citizens in host towns.
“These types of events are important,” said Road Warrior Foundation co-founder Craig Anders. “One day I was flying a $340M jet and the next day I was being driven to work by my spouse – it’s very hard to lose the ability to do what you are made to do.” He added, “The hardest thing was finding my purpose in life afterward… being able to go out and do things that made me feel free and independent of other people and to regain the self-esteem and sense of purpose I lost.”
Here is the full release from organizers:
The Road Warrior Foundation is hosting an event that will bring 8 wounded veterans cross country on Can-Am Spyder Roadster RTs, from Valcourt, Canada to Key West, Florida from June 5 -12, 2015. The Road Warriors will be arriving into Asheville with a Welcome Rally being planned on Tuesday, June 9 between 4:00 and 5:00 pm at Twin Leaf Brewery.
This epic 2,000-mile event, called the Road Warrior Ride, will take 8 days to complete and serve as an outlet to provide individual healing while showcasing the resilience of some incredible individuals. The riders are all recovering wounded or injured veterans that will benefit from this program of adventure therapy by giving them an opportunity to regain the freedom and independence lost when injured.
Rider profile: One such rider who will be joining the team this year is Robert Withers. Robert began his time with the military at Georgia Military College and swore an oath to the Constitution on the morning of September 11th, 2001. In May of 2003 he received his commission as an Officer in the Army National Guard, subsequently attending Armor Officer Basic Course in Ft. Knox, Kentucky and trained as a Tank Platoon Leader. On his 3rd deployment, Bobby served as Platoon Leader of the Security Team for the Commander of Task Force Morgan, responsible for Parwan province, Afghanistan. Before sunrise, on May 19th 2010, enemy fighters launched what was to be the largest attack on an Air Force base in 40 years, breaching the perimeter of Bagram Airbase in two locations. A group of suicide bombers in Army Combat Uniforms attempted to infiltrate the base, each equipped with explosive vests, RPGs, AK-47s, and grenades. While securing the perimeter and conducting a subsequent movement to contact with remaining attackers, Bobby stepped directly on an anti-personnel mine, launching him through the air, severing the bottom of his right leg, and almost the entire back of his left leg. Disregarding numerous threats from mines and small arms fire, a Special Forces Team Sergeant and one of his Squad Leaders rushed to his side and provided medical care that was able to limit blood loss and provided safe transport, ultimately saving his life. Over the following several months recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bobby underwent numerous surgeries including the amputation of his right leg below the knee and numerous skin grafts. He was also promoted to the rank of Captain and received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and ARCOM with ‘V Device’ for Valor.
This event is made possible by the Road Warrior Foundation and Can-Am Spyder along with other key sponsors (Sena Communications, Oakley, Duct Doctor, Camelbak and Transfer Flow) who have come together to make this ride possible. The riders will be riding specially outfitted Can-Am Spyder RT Roadsters. The Can-Am Spyder is a high-tech roadster with three wheels that incorporates the exhilaration and form of a motorcycle with additional safety features found in many automobiles. The Can-Am Spyder is the choice for this event because it enables wounded individuals to participate who may otherwise not be able to balance a motorcycle at a stop or use their feet to shift and brake. The stories of the wounded individuals on the ride attracted Can-Am’s interest and they approached the Road Warrior Foundation with an offer to allow them to use 10 Spyder RT Limited Roadsters to complete the ride.
Each stop will be a community event that will help spread awareness about this group of inspirational people and bring elected officials, civic leaders, and citizens together for a festive celebration. Additionally, the Road Warrior Foundation is reaching out to local organizations that also share the mission of improving the lives of people with disabilities to join in the festivities.
“These types of events are important,” said co-founder Craig Anders. “One day I was flying a $340M jet and the next day I was being driven to work by my spouse – it’s very hard to lose the ability to do what you are made to do.” He added, “The hardest thing was finding my purpose in life afterward… being able to go out and do things that made me feel free and independent of other people and to regain the self-esteem and sense of purpose I lost.”
About the Road Warrior Foundation:
The Road Warrior Foundation was formed in 2013 by veterans looking to make a difference in the lives of their fellow soldiers who were injured while serving their country. They acknowledge that people don’t necessarily realize how important the aspect of adventure is as a means of rehabilitation. The riders of this event all have type-A personalities. They don’t want to be restricted— they want to go out and do something big. “Big” is exactly what the Road Warrior Foundation is aiming for with these signature annual events. Learn more about this event, the riders, and to make a donation to the cause at www.roadwarrior.org