6:30 am ……. the skies were gray and there was a strong Northerly wind on this cold January morning in Aventura. But the smiles and laughter were loud and clear, coming from almost 50 Wounded Warriors staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Aventura warmed the hearts of everyone there.
For almost ten years, the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride has brought groups of amazing men and women to Aventura…they who have given so much to assure the freedom of our nation. You are stronger than you think – and there’s no better place to discover that strength than on the open road. The Soldier Ride is a four-day cycling experience where they meet warriors like themselves, push their limits beyond what they think is possible, and leave with a deeper understanding of who they are and what they’re capable of.
There are more than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts, with 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder and 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma.
Advancements in technology and medicine save lives – but the quality of those lives might be profoundly altered. With the support of their community of donors and team members, Wounded Warrior gives a voice to those needs and empowers our warriors to begin the journey to recovery.
The Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride is a time for laughter and bonding and challenges amongst the warriors who pay no attention to their prostheses for limbs lost in combat, but instead focus on the wonderful activities that are planned for them over their weekend in South Florida.
“We are so proud to host these incredible young men and women from the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride as they fight through the visible and invisible wounds of war.” said Jose Batista, General Manager of the Courtyard Marriott Miami/Aventura Mall. Aventura Police Chief Bryan Pegues and a full complement of officers, including the motorcycle officers who would escort the warriors to their next destination.“Law Enforcement Officers understand the sacrifices brave women and make in order to protect others. Wounded Warriors embody this selfless and courageous spirit. We honor our patriotic brothers and sisters in arms during the Soldier Ride. Our commitment to service deepens each year as we become inspired by their indomitable spirit.” Said Chief Pegues.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman never misses this send-off, saying, “Our community is honored to be part of the annual Wounded Warrior event – sending off our heroes on their ride”.
Aventura Comm. Gladys Mezrahi was also there to show her support along with members of the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce, including Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st and Board Member Ben Launerts, Park1, for this annual “send-off” breakfast. Warriors from up and down the east coast flew in and drove throughout the day to arrive on time for a full weekend of events that included breakfast at Finnegan’s on the Ocean in Miami Beach, a visit to Marlins Park, Jungle Island and dinner at Joe’s Stone Crabs. The next day they departed for the VFW Upper Keys Post in Key Largo, over to Coral Shores High School and Theatre of the Sea and on to the Marathon Fire Station, across the 7-mile bridge to Veteran’s Memorial Park in Big Pine Key, finishing up at the Fly Navy Hotel.
For more information, visit woundedwarriorproject.org