WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 21, 2008) -- Thirteen wounded warriors began a 480-mile bike trek Tuesday that started at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and will end Sunday at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., site of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The bike ride is sponsored by Road 2 Recovery, under the auspices of America Supports You, a DoD organization that connects citizens and business groups with military members and their families.

At the official send-off ceremony for the bike trek, Col. Patricia Horoho, commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System, called the Soldiers' willingness to make the ride a testament to their bravery and commitment to take control of their lives as they continue their recoveries.

"Although Walter Reed's team of dedicated doctors, nurses, physical therapists and countless others have been helping them recover physically, mentally and emotionally, it is our patients' personal courage and desire to be whole again that has been the catalyst for not only their success, but for ours as well," Horoho said.

Horoho said that long bike journey was symbolic of the road Warriors in Transition take from the point of their injury on the battlefield, through the entire journey of healing, to full recovery "Some of today's riders have stood in harm's way for multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom," Horoho said. "They are warriors in every sense of the word. We have the great and humbling privilege of providing care and comfort to America's heroes every day."

America Supports You has more than 345 home-front groups as members, and more than 30 corporations have joined the effort. America Supports You was founded, according to Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, to make it easy for the men and women in the military to get the support they need and deserve from the American people.

"It is thanks to the America Supports You program and, more importantly, to our citizens of this country, who every day continue to look for ways to support those of you who wear the uniform and your families, that we can make things like today happen," Barber said.

"We hope you feel embraced by the American people, who every day are trying to find ways to communicate one message to you: that America does support you," Barber said.

(Craig Coleman serves with Walter Reed Public Affairs.)