Honoring Our Heroes
Saturday was the eighth annual Honor the Warriors Bike Event at Veteran’s Park in Mint Hill. Honor the Warriors president and event organizer Jerry Morris said, “With over a hundred riders, this time we had 50% more participation than last year.” Over 100 riders registered this year, undoubtably the best year ever.
The two day event started Friday evening with a “warmup ride” of 18.2 miles, pedaling locally. Saturday’s event was divided into three rides: 66 miles, 34 miles, and 15 miles, depending on the biker’s choice and stamina.
Saturday’s ride was kicked off with an honor guard’s presentation of the flag and the singing of the National Anthem, followed by an encouraging and short talk by Congressman Robert Pittinger, then a quick blessing on the ride, and off they went.
Bikers returned to a much welcomed barbeque lunch, plus a laser massage for the riders’ fatigued muscles by Infinite Wellness. Riders sat on picnic tables, enjoying their lunch and comparing stories in the perfect autumn weather.
Honor the Warriors’ mission is to provide specially designed recumbent bikes for those injured in the line of military duty. As these bikes start at a price of over $5,000, this might be an unreachable cost for many disabled veterans. In addition to providing the special bikes, Honor the Warriors is a way for veterans to meet others and share insights, stories, and companionship.
Recumbent rider Glenn McClary said, “This is an awareness ride. It is to show people that being disabled is not the end of the world. There is so much more they can do.”
Congressman Pittinger, who has attended every year since he has been in Congress, said, “Because of the dedication, courage, and commitment of these men and women, we have the freedoms we now enjoy. It is our duty to take care of our veterans.”
Ronnie O’Regan, preparing to do the 34 mile ride said, “This is such a great chance to honor the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom.” Upon her return she said, “I had to get used to a lot of varied road surfaces, and we did get a little lost, but all in all, it was a glorious day. Oh, and the post-ride food is delicious!”
First time attendee Maria Parker, who took the 66 mile challenge and succeeded said, “The ride was absolutely beautiful. The roads were smooth over rolling hills, and we passed so many beautiful blooming soy fields, cotton fields, and pastures with grazing livestock.” She added, “It was one of the prettiest rides I have ever done, absolutely bucolic. I will definitely be back next year.”
Jerry Morris gave a shout out to the Mint Hill Mayor and the Town Council, thanking them for their support in this endeavor, and allowing him to use the park. “I also want to thank Beantown in Matthews, and the generous sponsorship of area businesses, who made it possible for those to ride who might not otherwise be able to.”