Wounded veterans build camaraderie in United Healthcare Memorial Challenge

csearcy@vagazette.com

Unity was on full display Thursday as wounded veterans and supporters rode into Colonial Williamsburg during a therapeutic bike tour organized by Project Hero.

Wounded veterans and supporters cycled more than 350 miles for the United Healthcare Memorial Challenge, which started on May 29 in Washington, D.C. and ends Saturday in Virginia Beach.

"It's really important to restore that sense of family, brotherhood and sisterhood together as a unit to go accomplish a goal and these challenges do just that," said Joe Coddington, operations director for Ride to Recovery. "We do five a year it's part of United Healthcare Memorial Challenge series."

During the cycle, riders rode from Washington, D.C. to Manassas, Fredericksburg, Richmond, then Colonial Williamsburg through historic sites, civic centers and local attractions.

Local veterans also are invited to ride on a single-day basis for a per-day registration fee. 

New Kent veteran Herb Jones weighed in on what he expected from the tour.

"I expect camaraderie with other veterans," Jones said. "We have guys that have some real challenges. Just to complete this is an accomplishment.

"We have some guys that are missing limbs and hanging in there," he said. "Just being in the presence of those guys is humbling."

"All of us here at CW share the project commitment honoring our nation's service members," said Colonial Williamsburg Foundation president Mitchell B. Reiss, during the pit stop. "Last June we opened the Liberty Lounge for military veterans, retirees and their families to have a special place of their own inside the historic area."

Riders left Williamsburg on Friday morning and rode south along Route 60 toward Newport News where they continued into Hampton. They then loaded onto busses to cross the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

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