Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bike4vets – The Fallen Heroes’ Ride Across America

One of the most storied rivalries in all of sports is the family feud that has existed for years between West Point and Annapolis. Each December, no matter what the win-loss record is for each team, the Army-Navy football game is a nationally televised spectacle fought with emotions at a fever pitch - on the field and in the stands. The first game between these two service academies was played in 1890! Yet for all the friendly posturing between the two schools and their justifiably proud alumni, beneath the surface there exists a deep mutual respect. That mutual admiration was in evidence this week when two Annapolis graduates wrote to make me aware of an inspiring cross-country journey being undertaken by a West Point graduate to raise awareness of the plight of wounded veterans.

In the past few weeks, you have read several articles in the White Rhino Report about this issue, and I will continue to highlight aspects of the problem as long as there are veterans in need of help in securing adequate treatment for the wounds they have suffered in serving our nation.

My thanks to Jack Colletti, United States Naval Academy Class of 1991 and John Byington, Class of 1990 for making me aware of this effort that is worthy of our attention and support.

I share with you John Byington’s e-mail to his network that went out earlier today.

Family and friends,

I think we all realize that this world war we’re fighting will not be over soon. Ted Koppel had a special last week called “Our Children’s Children’s War,” which is among the clearer signs that at least some in the media “get it.” One part of this story that is rarely told (and recently made headlines with disclosures out of Walter Reed hospital) is that too many of those hurt while fighting for their country are not treated as well as they should be after they shift to the outpatient world stateside. Due to advances in body armor, many survive horrific wounds only to suffer debilitating brain injuries that will require special care the VA isn’t designed to support. Some will face daunting financial challenges due to their limited earning potential and tremendous needs.

To raise awareness of this increasing problem and raise funds for established veterans’ organizations, a local veteran is set to launch a bicycle journey across America. He’s a West Pointer and former tanker, but don’t hold that against him. I’ve met Ed Acevedo twice at the local service academy business lunch meetings here in Jacksonville, and I’d like you to do what you can to help his quest. http://www.bike4vets.org/home.htm

His route will take him thru Saint Augustine, FL; Gainesville, FL; Tallahassee, FL; Pensacola, FL; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; San Antonio, TX; El Paso, TX; Las Cruces, NM; Silver City, NM; Tempe, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA.

Ed especially needs some help in the Pensacola, FL and the San Diego, CA areas. As a former Army guy, his networks aren’t as deep there, so I’m hoping the Navy-Marine Corps team can help him out – but I’m blasting this to many more because you never know who your friends know. If you can help him get in touch with the right people to make things happen, you would be helping more than one person. He’d simply like some media support to bring attention to the cause, not for himself. If people want to ride alongside, that’s great too. I think it would be great if war fighters in the San Diego area could provide a proper reception.

If you can help – either with a place to stay, local media contacts, a donation or a word of encouragement – please contact Ed via his Web site at http://www.bike4vets.org.



I appreciate you doing what you can to help him improve the lives of at least some of those who’ve shed their blood on our behalf. I’m sending this to those I know who I suspect either know people along the route, may have a special heart for the cause, or those who can help bring attention to this growing issue.

Thanks for your consideration.

Thanks to John and to Jack for making me aware of this undertaking. I encourage you to open the link and think about how you can help in this effort, especially those of you who live along the route that that Ed will be taking across the southern United States. As always, I encourage you to forward this article to those in your spheres of influence who will be interested in learning about this event.



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