Florida Keys

Wounded Veterans Bike Through Florida Keys

War-wounded military men and women pedaled their way across the Seven Mile Bridge and other parts of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway as a facet of the annual Florida Keys Soldier Ride.

Almost 40 injured soldiers and their supporters are participating in the cycling event organized by the Wounded Warrior Project. The ride through the Keys started Friday and runs through the weekend. While some riders are missing one or more limbs after combat injuries, the veterans are using bicycles fitted with special adaptive equipment. Other injuries, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are not so visible.

U.S. Marine Capt. Andrew Hairston, front, pedals a recumbent bicycle across the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, near Marathon, Fla., during Soldier Ride, an event staged by the Wounded Warrior Project to help restore injured soldiers' physical and emotional well-being. Soldier Ride, with about 40 wounded warriors and their supporters taking part, has activities set for Key West on Saturday, Jan. 8, and concludes back in Marathon Sunday, Jan. 9, with participants interacting with dolphins at Dolphin Research Center. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

The organization’s cross-country and Keys bicycle trips provide inspiration and rehabilitative opportunities for injured soldiers, while raising money for others recovering in American military hospitals.

Funds generated help foster veterans’ independence, develop peer-mentoring programs and arrange transport between home and hospital when needed.

The Keys Soldier Ride continues Saturday through Key West, with an additional community ride where the public can cycle with the warriors pass historic military sites in the island city.

Sunday, the group is scheduled to interact with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Marathon’s Dolphin Research Center.

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