Great Lakes Challenge Makes a Strong Finish at the Legion Convention

With a flatter course than yesterday and everyone excited about the Packer's game, Day 4 was a fast day in the saddle. The group made it all the way to Lambeau Field in under 5 1/2 hours of riding time! (Photo courtesy of Ride 2 Recovery Facebook page)

Wounded cyclists, and others who joined them in support, traveled from Wasau to Green Bay to Sheboygen and – finally – to Milwaukee for the second half of Ride 2 Recovery’s “Great Lakes Challenge.” As usual, riders new and experienced shared powerful stories of healing and transformation through the experience.

As reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette: “Rider Jen Dreizehn, a 15-year military veteran, has not only been riding with her biking family, but also seeing her real family in her first trip back to Wisconsin over that time. Her family cheered her along at several stops on Thursday and planned to attend the Green Bay Packers game with her.

The Shawano native, who grew up in Mountain, is stationed with the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Eustis, Va.  ‘I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 12 years old, so this has just been great and a real challenge,’ Dreizehn said. ‘Challenge is definitely the word to use. I’m really glad I did it.'”

The final day of the Great Lakes Challenge saw the cyclists heading into Milwaukee, and then riding in the American Legion parade. (Photo courtesy of Ride 2 Recovery Facebook page)

The final day of the ride was especially poignant, as the group greeted attendees at the The 92nd Annual American Legion National Convention and later participated in a parade.  Marty Callahan reported the following: “About 50 cyclists – veterans and servicemembers – arrived in Milwaukee Aug. 28 at The American Legion National Convention, completing a six-day, 426-mile journey from Minneapolis. The cyclists are part of the national Ride 2 Recovery program that helps veterans overcome their wounds and inspire others to do the same.

‘This kind of event does tremendous things for the mental and physical rehabilitation of the wounded warriors,’ said John Wordin, founder and president of Ride 2 Recovery. ‘Whatever kind of injury they may have – amputations, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, PTSD – cycling helps them to recover. Events like this create such a bond and camaraderie – it’s a great group therapy session.'”

Click here to watch as the cyclists enter the convention, and check out a great video clip from WLUK-TV below!

Announcing Microsoft Elevate America’s Veterans Initiative!

Microsoft Corp. recently announced a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process for organizations to be a part of the Elevate America Veterans Initiative.  The initiative is designed to provide technology skills and support resources to veterans and their spouses when they transition to the civilian work force.  Applications are due on June 30, 2010, and the awardees will be named in August.  Click here to learn about eligibility and how your organization can participate.

The Elevate America Veterans Initiative is a new part of Microsoft’s Elevate America program, which provides free technology training in 17 states (more are coming soon) and already includes FREE online resources such as Microsoft Digital Literacy trainingMicrosoft Office Live Small BusinessMicrosoft StudentMicrosoft DreamSpark for Students, and Community Technology Skills Program Partners.

For the Veterans Initiative, “Microsoft has convened organizations serving veterans to serve on an advisory committee for the Veterans Initiative over the next two years to help provide guidance and expertise throughout this process. Organizations on the advisory committee include The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Service Organizations (USO), and Wounded Warrior Project.”  We’re proud to be a part of this innovative new program!

“We salute Microsoft for its ongoing support of the nation’s wounded veterans and wounded warriors,” says our President and CEO, Sloan Gibson. “The community-based efforts to support these troops and ease the transition from military to civilian life will improve their lives.”

“Wounded Warrior Project believes it is our duty to empower wounded service members with the tools they need to embark on a path toward a successful and meaningful career,” said WWP Executive Director Steve Nardizzi. “We commend Microsoft for creating Elevate America and for shouldering responsibility for the training and transition of our wounded warriors into the civilian work force.”

We invite veterans and their families to utilize the great resources already available, and we will keep you posted on the states and organizations that participate.  And you can always follow The USO and Elevate America on Twitter for the latest!

Click here to learn more about Elevate America’s Veterans Initiative!