By Marianne T. GreenOctober 21, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 21, 2011) -- Nothing was going to keep 80-year-old Army veteran Frank "the Tank" Barella from cycling the 325 miles from Pittsburgh to Gaithersburg, Md., during the Columbus Day weekend.
Barella was making the 11th annual Ride Allegheny trip along the C&O Canal to raise funds for Operation Second Chance which provides emergency financial assistance and basic items to wounded Soldiers and Marines, and in honor of the 10th Mountain Division.
Ride chairman Walt Ellenberger said riders have raised more than $400,000 for Soldiers and their families since Ride Alleghany partnered with Operation Second Chance five years ago.
"It's important for us to know that our funds go directly to our veterans," he said.
This year's 50 riders had different reasons for participating, from challenging themselves to honoring veterans.
Terese Shell and her husband Michael, a Naval Academy graduate, said they wanted to support Ride Allegheny's efforts to aid Soldiers who have been maimed in combat.
"Our son's Naval Academy classmate had lost limbs," Terese said. "We became aware of the need for rehabilitation services for young servicemen and women and Ride Allegheny supports those efforts."
Betsy LaPadula, a first time rider, said, "It's a privilege and an honor to be doing this. Soldiers and their families sacrifice so much for us."
This year's ride raised $133,000 for Operation Second Chance.
(Marianne T. Green serves as an intern with Operation Second Chance.)