About 250 runners and riders participated in Sunday’s third annual Honor Ride and Run through the streets of Barrington, raising an estimated $40,000 to support life changing cycling programs that help our country’s wounded veterans continue in their recovery process.
Funds raised support Ride 2 Recovery, a nonprofit organization that equips wounded veterans with bikes customized to accommodate their injuries. The organization also offers training and hosts rides for physical and mental benefits that impact veterans’ lives forever.
Participants in Sunday’s event chose between a 5 or 10K run or a 29.5 mile bike ride through Barrington.
The race started with a brief ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in downtown Barrington where participants paused for a few words from Ride 2 Recovery Chief Operating Officer and retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel David Haines.
David was in town for the race from his home in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He put the whole mission into new perspective when he shared more about his own personal recovery after he and four fellow soldiers were hit by a roadside bomb while serving our country.
“In 2006 I was assigned to an infantry unit in Baghdad, Iraq and was hurt by a roadside bomb. I was on a mounted patrol in an up-armored Humvee and was hit on one of the main routes in Baghdad by a bomb that basically shoots molten shrapnel through the armor of the vehicle.”
“There were five people including myself on this vehicle. One person was killed and all of the three other men who survived lost limbs so it was a very serious incident and I was fortunate enough that, though my injuries were very serious, I managed to keep all of my limbs.”
“But I was evacuated through the system and spent about four months as a patient at Walter Reed and then about two-and-a-half-years rehabilitating after that. I had shattered my right hand, shrapnel damage to my left arm and shattered my right femur so for my life and for my military career, that was kind of a defining point.”
David says cycling has played a major role in his personal rehabilitation goals, allowing him to stay involved with the military and connect others with the cause, like Barrington Honor Ride & Run Founder and Chicago-based FOX News Channel Correspondent, Mike Tobin…
He also shared that participating in Ride 2 Recovery events allows him time to quietly honor those who lost their lives in his rotation.
Just a few minutes into our conversation I could sense a shift in David’s voice when he revealed that 20 more men in his unit were also killed during his tour in Iraq.
“Some of them I was very close to. These rides kind of afford me the opportunity to reflect on their service and their sacrifice and to make sure that I don’t take anything for granted in my life.”
“It always makes me a little bit misty to come to events like this and see the people and just how much they love and support the men and women that have sacrificed for this country.”
“The fact that they’re willing to show up is the most meaningful thing. You don’t necessarily need to give us anything to show your appreciation, you just need to turn out, say thanks and participate. It means a lot.”
The race ended at the south Metra parking lot beneath a giant American flag which was raised on a crane for the occasion. About a dozen veterans from the local chapter of Rolling Thunder led the ride and were there at the finish to pay tribute to our wounded soldiers and express their commitment to bringing home veterans still missing from all wars.
If you would like to learn more about Ride 2 Recovery and support their efforts, visit their website at Ride2Recovery.com. To participate in next year’s Barrington Honor Ride and Run, CLICK HERE to follow the organization’s latest updates on Facebook or visit their website at HonorRideBarrington.com.