On a very cold January morning, 43 Wounded Warriors were ready and eager to start their 50+mile journey through Miami and Key West. But the cold weather couldn’t compete with the warmth emanating from the young men and women participating in the 9th annual Soldier Ride. The Residence Inn, home to this inspiring event for the past nine years, features wounded war heroes, many with prosthetic limbs and other injuries, riding specially-adapted bikes throughout the weekend.
Their journey is one of healing and fellowship as part of their healing process. For some, this was the first time they ventured out of their homes to connect with the community. Many wounded veterans face similar challenges with isolation when transitioning to civilian life. The Soldier Ride introduces wounded veterans to the Wounded Warrior Project long-term health and wellness programs, which include physical training, outdoor events and nutrition classes.
“It was once again our honor to host this wonderful group here at the Residence Inn by Marriott Miami Aventura Mall.
On behalf of our entire team, we thank and appreciate those veterans who have served the country on our behalf. We also appreciate the great support from our local community and sister hotel properties. It’s always our pleasure to give back by supporting this event year after year”, said Yara Mendes, Director of Sales.
The Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) encourages their members to meet the Wounded Warriors at an early morning breakfast before they take off for their first journey. AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st, said, “ Our Aventura Marketing Council is proud to partner with our outstanding member, the Residence Inn by Marriott Aventura, to support our true heroes for the 9th consecutive year .”
Under the leadership of Capt. Jacklyn Gallagher, over 20 NJ-ROTC cadets from Dr. Michael Krop Sr. High School took time from their winter school break to show their respect for the veterans. The cadets were eager to talk to the veterans and give them an ‘official’ Aventura send-off along with the Aventura Police Dept., led by Chief Bryan Pegues.
Chief Pegues said, “Our officers wanted to be here with the Wounded Warrior—we have great reverence and respect for the military, and we honor their service and commitment to our country. Without them, we wouldn’t be here to serve and protect our community. “
Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman added, “I’m so proud of our veterans, our Wounded Warriors and the Residence Inn and the Aventura Marketing Council to annually support this Soldier Ride.”“
Adam Faine, Manager for the Soldier Ride, said, “We are thankful for the tremendous support the Aventura community shows in honoring and empowering our wounded warriors year after year. WWP is not able to do it alone, and we appreciate the community's support and look forward to returning next year!"
For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, visit soldierride.org