Project Hero/Ride to Recovery Instructor Staff Sgt. Lee Thao, right, leads a group of riders that includes Spc. Jason Blair, Cycling coach Steve Byrnes, Spc. Jordan Knox, Spc. John Laursen, and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Sweeney, along 9th Street past the Warrior Transition Brigade at Ft. Belvoir, Va. on Thursday, June 13.

Six wounded Soldiers participated in a Project Hero/Ride to Recovery adaptive cycling program training session June 13 at 1st Battalion, Warrior Transition Brigade Fort Belvoir WTB complex.
The clinic, presented by Belvoir WTB Military Adaptive Sports Coordinator, Steve Smutak; Project Hero/Ride to Recovery Instructor, Staff Sgt. Lee Thao; Recovery Instructor and Physical Therapist, Mindy Wowak; and Cycling Coach, Steve Byrnes; provides wounded, ill and injured servicemembers an introduction to the sport of cycling as well as an opportunity to train for events such as the annual Ride2Recovery Honor Rides.
Spc. John Laursen, Spc. Jordan Knox, Spc. Jason Blair, Staff Sgt. Eldeen Daly, Spc. John Laursen, and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Sweeney, spent the 2-hour training session learning how to perform pre-ride equipment checks such as making brake and shifting adjustments, ensuring all safety requirements are met and maintained, and applying the instruction to an actual ride in the WTB courtyard and along 9th Street.
Project Hero was created to enhance, inspire, and challenge Healing Heroes' rehabilitation by introducing them to Ride2Recovery, a 501(c) 3 organization whose mission is to improve the health and wellness of healing military heroes through physical and mental rehabilitation programs that use cycling as the core activity, according to the R2R mission statement. Project Hero, which allows each person to set individual goals while working in a group, partners with local facility staff and cadre to create a personalized and progressive cycling program that fits the needs of the patient population to promote a fuller and quicker rehabilitation.
The Ride2Recovery organization also supports wounded servicemembers through general-public events such as Honor Rides. These one-day, self paced, non-competitive rides are typically comprised of three different routes, with each catering to different ability levels. By uniting wounded veterans and civilians in a one-day cycling event, civilians get a chance to "honor" the veterans, hence the name Honor Rides.
For more information regarding WTU Adaptive Sports programs at Fort Belvoir call Steve Smutak, Military Adaptive Sports Program coordinator, at (440) 334-0228 or email
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Page last updated Fri June 21st, 2013 at 15:00