Dozens of local Wounded Warriors were fitted in adaptive bikes to prepare for Friday’s soldier ride—a bike ride to help them on their path to recovery.
Service members from up and down the east coast will be in Jacksonville for the event.
Michael Desouto, of Wounded Warriors, says it will be his first soldier’s ride but he feels like he already belongs.
"I feel calm. I feel at home, at peace" said wounded warrior Michael DeSouto who is participating in his first @wwp #soldierride. Can't get a better reaction than that! We thank him for his service. Story at 5:55 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/KJqsXGsMw7— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) February 8, 2018
Desouto was medically discharged from the service in 2008, after serving in combat in Afghanistan.
The ride for him is more than just exercise— it’s medicine for the soul.
“Just the camaraderie, you know, the new friendships cause when you get out of the military, it’s not the same,” he explained.
Ride manager Adam Faine also served in the military. The event for him is personal.
“We get letters after the event from warriors saying how it changed their life, or some of the most rewarding is when we get a letter from a family member or a child saying, ‘Hey you gave me my dad back you gave me my mom back’,” Faine explained.
The ride is a stepping stone for wounded warriors to integrate back into civilian life—by having the support of an army of brothers and sisters rooting for them.
"It shows them they’re not forgotten, you can honor and empower these great warriors" -- Adam Faine of @wwp on this year's Soldier Ride. Story at 5:55 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/UXE91Ihvaj— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) February 8, 2018
“That’s really made the huge difference is just the support of everybody else,” says Desouto.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.