PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They were pumped up, ready to hit the road and ride.
Forty-one veterans from all over the country, all injured in war, took part in a soldier ride hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We have everything from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, amputees, different spinal injuries and a lot of unseen injuries that you would never even think about,” said soldier ride specialist Amanda Becker.
Many had to use adaptive bikes to travel through the streets of the Steel City.
The ride kicked off in a parking lot at the base of the Duquesne Incline and wrapped through town, crossing the 7th Street Bridge onto the North Shore.
For Therese Mangham, the event meant a lot.
In 2008, she was hit in an IED explosion, while serving in Iraq. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, but that was just the beginning of her struggles — last year, she tried to take her own life.
“I suffered with PTSD,” she says, “I went through quite a bit, especially as a woman veteran and I didn’t get a lot of support from the VA.”
Mangham found that support through the Wounded Warrior Project — a national group working to provide services and programs to injured service members.
She says the ride has already been rewarding.
“Fun, enjoyment, comradely, getting an opportunity to be with other veterans like myself,” Mangham said.
Joseph Bowling, from Columbus, Ohio agrees the actual biking is just a small part. He says the ride helps with the transition from military to civilian life.
“It’s going great, building a lot of relationships,” Bowling said, “a lot of friendships, it’s a lot of great people, a lot of high caliber people here, so we’re having a lot of fun with the group activities, spending our time in Pittsburgh.”
Over the course of four days, these warriors will get a really good taste of Pittsburgh. In addition to today’s ride, they’ll attend a Pirates game tonight. Then tomorrow, they’ll travel to Moraine State Park for more biking and kayaking.