Ride 2 Recovery helps veterans in need
National nonprofit Ride 2 Recovery provides rehabilitation to injured veterans through long-course biking competitions. The Great Lakes Challenge group, which focused on a biking trip from Chicago to Detroit, stopped to rest at MSU on Tuesday afternoon.
After breaking his back in a nearly fatal accident during the Vietnam War, U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Wermuth’s life has been fraught with medical issues.
But when he hops on his bicycle, the miles blend together, and his anxiety is forgotten.
“I used to have to take a lot of pills,” he said. “Now the pills are gone, and I ride my bicycle.”
Led by the East Lansing Police Department, Wermuth and 200 other injured veterans passed through East Lansing on Tuesday afternoon as a part of Ride 2 Recovery, a nationwide program for veterans that has offered rehabilitation through long-distance biking since 2008.
Ride 2 Recovery accommodates veterans suffering from many kinds of injuries, including those with missing limbs and paraplegics. The group was a part of the Great Lakes Challenge, a route reaching from Chicago to Detroit.
Washington, D.C. resident, Ashley Crandall, comforts her dog, Jasmine, during a break, Aug. 27, 2013, at the Kellogg Center during the Ride 2 Recovery. Ashley served 10 years in the Army and is medically retired. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News
Members of Ride 2 Recovery bike toward Kellogg Center, Aug. 27, 2013, at the corner of Michigan and Harrison avenues. The biking program for injured veterans started in Chicago and later took place throughout Michigan. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News
Ever since his own life was saved by medics, Wermuth said it’s been his duty to help others through the recovery experience. He’s ridden with the Ride 2 Recovery program seven times.
“I was dead for about four and a half minutes, and they brought me back,” he said. “Now, all these years later, with Ride 2 Recovery, we can help others.”
Barbara Springer, who served in the U.S. Army for 25 years, said it took some time to readjust to civilian life. Springer, the nationwide director of Ride 2 Recovery branch Project Hero, said veterans deserve the chance to start their lives over.
“They lay their life out for us and they make sacrifices, and we need to take care of them when they get back,” Springer said. “They find out they’re not alone in their symptoms.”