Long Road Home Project Bikers
Veterans from VA Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS) had the opportunity to visit with five inspiring military heroes on Thursday, August 16, when bicyclists from the Long Ride Home Project made a pit stop at the Fort Meade Campus.
The Long Road Home Project was started by Casey Miller, a civilian, as a way to help Veterans with their transitions home. He selected five military heroes from across the nation to participate in a summer-long bike ride from Aberdeen, Wash. to the District of Columbia, to raise money and awareness for other veterans in need. The journey will take them three months and they will pedal more than 4,000 miles.
Miller selected his group of service people to include men and women of varied ages, backgrounds and interests.
"I tried to get as diverse a group as possible," Miller said. "I figure, pain doesn’t discriminate. So why should we?"
The group of cyclists includes service people suffering from partial paralysis, PTSD and homelessness. Two of the cyclists are making this cross-country trek on modified bicycles, made to accommodate their lower extremity paralysis. Veterans at VA BHHCS were amazed by the cyclists’ determination, and their interesting bikes.
"Boy, that’s something," said Alvin No Horse, when the cyclists brought one of the modified bikes into the facility.
Veterans from VA BHHCS enjoyed an afternoon of recalling their military tales to the visiting Veteran bicyclists. They swapped tour stories and riding tips. By the end of their visit, it was hard to tell who was more inspired by whom.
"I’ll think of you when I get up that next hill," said Colleen Bushnell, U.S. Air Force Ret. cyclist, as she parted ways with VA BHHCS Veteran Robert Stillman. "It’s been an honor to meet you."