Wounded Warriors on Cape Cod for Annual Soldier Ride

Courtesy of the Wounded Warrior Project

SOUTH YARMOUTH – Dozens of wounded veterans from around the nation are spending the next few days on Cape Cod as they take part in the annual Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride.

The warriors were welcomed Wednesday with a dinner and bike fitting at Red Jacket Resort in South Yarmouth before a 20-mile ride Thursday on the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth.

Another 20-mile ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Route 134 in Dennis to Nickerson State Park in Brewster and back will be held Friday.

Police officers, fire fighters and other first responders and guests from across Cape Cod and the Islands are also participating and supporting the event.

Bike Technician Charlie Honea, of the Jacksonville team, said the warriors will create longtime friendships before leaving the Cape.

“They are really meeting people who are in the same place they are, that understand what they are going through,” Honea said. “And it is nice when you a see a warrior who has kind of been through some tough times who has battled some demons and is on the other side and has seen some light, and is thoroughly engaged in helping a warrior who is at the beginning of that journey.”

This year’s trip to Cape Cod was the fourth for Honea who said each is uniquely different.

“I’d like to have one time here where it is just sunny the whole time,” he said.

Honea said seeing a combat or war veteran getting on a bike and riding it for the first time is just as satisfying as when a child does it.

“It just opens up a whole new world of freedom for them and helps them realize their capabilities are much greater than they make think they are in the moment,” Honea said. “I don’t think there’s anything greater than when we really do help someone who is physically struggling and gets on a bike and just takes off.”

Wounded Warrior Alumni John Oliveira, of New Bedford, said the warriors have received a lot of support from the Yarmouth community, who are still mourning the loss of Sgt. Sean Gannon.

Gannon was shot and killed last month while serving a search warrant at a Marstons Mills home.

“I think it’s really an honor to be doing this in Yarmouth and on the Cape,” Oliveira said.

The warriors participating are staying at the Red Jacket Resort in South Yarmouth.

Oliveira said the event brings the wounded veterans together.

“The Wounded Warrior Project has been fantastic,” he said. “My life would probably be so much different if it hadn’t been for the wounded warrior project over the years.”

Oliveira said participating in the Soldier Ride helps warriors get active and interact with individuals in similar circumstances.

“We share with each other and that is what it’s about,” he said. “It’s about us bonding and helping each other.”

Oliveira said the event is also a great way to highlight the local community.

“There isn’t a better place to be than the Cape and the south coast of Massachusetts,” Oliveira said.

For more information on the Soldier Ride, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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