Waving flags, flashing high-fives and chanting “USA,” approximately 300 Cambria Grammar School students cheered the arrival of Wounded Warrior cyclists participating in the sixth annual “Ride 2 Recovery” during a stop at the school on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
School principal Bob Watt officially welcomed national ride organizer John Wordin and a vanguard of 35 cyclists as they passed through rows of cheering students. A professional cyclist, Wordin is president of the Fitness Challenge Foundation, home of the Ride 2 Recovery program.
“Our students enjoy the visit and patriotic spirit of the event,” Watt said. He is not a veteran but takes pride in supporting community activities.
Third-grader Eduardo Cruz, 8, summed up the comments of fellow students. “I’m here to see them because they’re great and fought for our country.”
“They’re very nice to come all the way to our school,” added classmate Shanyra Cardenas, 8.
Earlier that morning, a contingent of American Legion Post No. 432 Riders escorted the full group that numbered more than 200 cyclists from San Simeon along Highway 1.
Ride 2 Recovery is a nationally recognized program that raises awareness and funds to help rehabilitate injured veterans. Primary sponsor is United Healthcare, a major medical insurance company. “We’ll do six challenge rides in the U.S. and one in Europe this year,” Wordin said.
Cyclist backgrounds varied from veterans suffering from disabilities and friends to an active duty navy captain serving in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Aaron Autler, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, said the rides helped relieve anxiety issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
All involved said they looked forward to another visit next year.