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Tampa's first soldier ride held for wounded warriors

11:27 PM, Feb 20, 2011   |    comments
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  • Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride
  • Tampa, Florida -  A one-day cycling event was held Sunday morning to raise support and awareness for our wounded service members. It's the first time the event has been held in Tampa.

    Organizers say the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride is a way to honor our nation's wounded warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war. They say it also gives the public a chance to ride alongside and honor those men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.

    Photo Gallery: Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride

    Nick Kraus is one of the co-founders of the Wounded Warrior Project and says, "The ride is really to empower the soldiers and show them that they can get out of the hospital - that they can get out - relate with the community. It's a way for the community to show their support, their appreciation, and to show the newly injured soldiers that you can be hurt badly and you can go out and live an active life."

    The ride started at Macy's department store at the WestShore Plaza Mall in Tampa. Twenty wounded warriors took part and there were about 70 cyclists who joined them.

    Several of the veterans who participated say words can't really express how much an event like this means to them. Luke Murphy was on a mission in Sadr City, Bahgdad when an IED struck his vehicle. He lost a leg.

    Murphy says, "Well, it's days like this where I can actually be around other guys like me. I go to school at Florida State University. I walk around all day. I don't see a lot of guys like me and when you bring guys like us together we can talk. This is therapy for us."

    The Wounded Warrior project provided the veterans with free state-of-the-art adaptive hand cycles, trikes and bicycles, since the veterans have various injuries and disabilities.

    The Wounded Warrior Project has been around since 2004 and the organization puts on about 16 rides around the country each year. Sunday's ride was the first one to be held in Tampa.

    The Soldier Ride is sponsored in part by Bank of America, AT&T, Macy's, Bonefish Grill and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    If you missed the event but would like to donate money to the organization, or learn more about it, click here.

    Tammie Fields, 10 News

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