Fort Bliss Bikers raise money for Wounded Warriors
Members of the 5th Armored Brigade Rally Riders line up to support the El Paso Wounded Warriors Motorcycle Run

FORT BLISS, Texas--About 20 Soldiers from the 5th Armored Brigade rode their motorcycle in support of the Wounded Warriors Motorcycle Run.

The ride is part of a national nonprofit, nonpolitical organization aimed at assisting the men and women of the U.S. military who have been severely injured during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. David Shindel, 5th Armored Brigade master trainer of the Improvised Explosive Device Defeat class and ride captain, lead the motorcyclists on all three legs of the ride.

"As the brigade motorcycle mentorship representative, I usually arrange a group ride on the weekend, especially when there is a lull in training," said Shindel. "Joseph E. Stout, command sergeant major of 5th Armored Brigade, felt there was enough interest in this ride to warrant an organized ride. Being that we had interested riders and seven pillion riders, I would have to say he was right."

The 5th Armored Brigade riders rallied at Highway 54 and Martin Luther King Boulevard, where Soldiers and friends rode in a staggered formation to the Barnett Harley Davidson shop where Soldiers and citizens got registered for the ride.

The second leg of the ride took the group to the Edge of Texas restaurant to socialize and reminisce about military experiences.

Hungry riders revved up their engines and rode the third and last leg of the ride into Mulligan's North Bar and Grill where riders were treated to a barbecue and festivities.

Dee Downey, Home for the Holidays chairperson, has been the chairperson for three years and said when she started volunteering, "God laid it on [her] heart" to get involved in this program. A friend told Downey about this program but Downey didn't think she had enough time to volunteer. She literally parked her car, thought about it, and went inside to start volunteering her time for a worthy cause. Her strong military background also contributed to her eagerness to support this program.

The "Wounded Warrior Project" raises money to buy airline tickets to send wounded Soldiers who are away from their families' home during the holidays. Downey explained there are more than 600 Soldiers from Fort Bliss who are in the Warrior Transition Program and all the money raised helps the Soldiers. "Every penny we raise goes to the plane tickets," said Downey.

"With many servicemembers deploying, Fort Bliss and the encompassing community have really come together to show their support for servicemembers of all branches of the military who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan," said Shindel. "It's really refreshing to know that if I was ever in their situation, the support from our community is overwhelming," Shindel stated.

Staff Sgt. David Miller, observer controller/trainer from 1st Battalion, 361st Regiment Engineers "Redhawk," rode in support of the fundraiser. Miller believes in helping wounded Soldiers unite with their families during the holidays because.

"Holidays are hard on Soldiers, whether they are deployed overseas or stationed away from their family," said Miller.
Nearly $5,500 was raised for the "Wounded Warriors Project." Downy estimated 450 motorcycles registered for the run and more than 600 people participated in the fundraiser.

"We had such a terrific turnout; it was great," said Downey.

Page last updated Mon December 1st, 2008 at 18:30