Heartwarming and inspirational. Probably the best two words to describe the morning of January 7th when the Aventura community gathered to bid farewell to wounded U. S. soldiers as they left the Residence Inn for their annual cycle event, known as the “Soldier Ride”. This ride is a physical health and wellness program of the Wounded Warriors, which envisions a generation of wounded veterans well-adjusted in body, receiving the care they need to maximize rehabilitation and live active and healthy lives, helping the warriors achieve independence.
The soldiers spent two nights at the beautiful Residence Inn in anticipation of their long journey to Key West. This event is of high recognition and all roads along their South Florida route are closed, and police departments throughout South Florida accompany them throughout their journey.
Aventura, known as the “City of Excellence” can also be called the “City with a Heart”, as City and County leaders, Aventura police, businesspeople, students and residents showed up at 7 a.m. to meet and cheer on the men and women who have given so much to assure the freedoms we enjoy. Each year, the Residence Inn partners the Aventura Marketing Council/World-Class Chamber of Commerce, to invite the community to participate in this very special event.
Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman held the audience captive with her beautiful words of inspiration for our warriors. Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman spoke of the sacrifices made by our military and appreciation for their service to our nation. Miguel Hoyer, General Manager of the Residence Inn, gave a simple, but powerful, “Thank You” to our veterans and his appreciation to the community for their support.
Students from ACES, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. High were there, bringing home-made cookies for the riders. Aventura Marketing Council members brought water, gum and candy as well. Uniformed JROTC cadets from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, under the direction of Capt. Jacklyn Gallagher, lined up in a reverent military salute, waiting for the warriors to depart.
The Aventura Police were there in full force with police cars and motorcycles to escort the Wounded Warriors to their next destination. It was a morning of powerful emotions that would make us think twice about what some of us consider “problems”. The smiles on the faces of our Wounded Warriors throughout the morning brought to mind the quote....”Heroes don’t wear capes....they wear dog tags”.
For more information on the Residence Inn by Marriott, visit marriott.com/miara; woundedwarriorproject.org