Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness to combat the national mental health emergency posed by PTSD
Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness to combat the national mental health emergency posed by PTSD and TBI.
Project Hero programs including Ride 2 Recovery events and Project Hero Community Centers work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies. The organization also builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and founded the Project Hero Research Institute for Mental Health to support clinical research programs in 2016.
Ride 2 Recovery started with a telephone call to John Wordin from a recreational therapist with the Veterans Administration (VA). The therapist thought cycling would be an alternative therapy for PTSD and TBI treatment as well as physical injury rehabilitation. Based on John’s success as a professional cyclist and founder of the Fitness Challenge Foundation, the therapist thought he was the right person to create the program the VA had in mind.
Wordin launched the first Ride 2 Recovery Challenge event in 2008 with fourteen riders and no support staff. By 2010, the organization was producing six Challenges events across the US with an average of 170 participants per ride and a full support staff including the Texas Challenge from San Antonio to Dallas, the Memorial Challenge from Washington DC to Virginia Beach, the Rocky Mountain Challenge from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Colorado Springs, the Great Lakes Challenge from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, the Golden State Challenge from San Francisco to Los Angeles; and the Florida Challenge from Tampa to Jacksonville.
In 2011, R2R grew to seven Challenge events including Texas, Memorial, Florida, Golden State, Great Lakes, the 9/11 American Challenge on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, which began at Ground Zero in New York City, rode through Shanksville, PA and finished at the Pentagon and The Normandy Challenge, the first European Challenge event which traced the steps of D-Day and subsequent battles.
In 2012, R2R’s Battle of the Bulge Challenge hosted 147 riders as they rode through Belgium and Luxembourg, in addition to Texas, Memorial, and Golden State Challenges, and the organization added the Gulf Coast Challenge from New Orleans to Tallahassee, the Minuteman Challenge from Boston to New York and the Bluegrass Challenge from Cincinnati to Nashville. The Challenge events became so popular the organization established a limit of 200 participants per event and today they sell out early and have lengthy waiting lists, attesting to the power of the Ride 2 Recovery programs.
Project Hero has helped tens of thousands of our Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through Ride 2 Recovery cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research.
President and Founder
A nationally recognized leader of the movement to help Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury, John Wordin is the President and Founder of Project Hero.
A native of Southern California, John was an avid high school and college athlete, earning a scholarship to play football at Cal State Northridge. Weighing 260+ lbs. at graduation, he decided to change his lifestyle through exercise, which included cycling, and improving his diet. In less than a year, he weighed 220 lbs. and within 16 months he was at 185 lbs. and had begun his career as a professional cyclist. He participated in 3 US Olympic Trials and earned a Bronze medal in the 1989 US National Championships.
John then founded and was president of the Fitness Challenge Foundation, which was the genesis of Ride 2 Recovery. He was also the director of the Mercury Cycling Team, which became a dominant presence in US professional cycling, winning 535 races between 1998–2002, and was named Team of the Year a record 7 consecutive times by the prestigious cycling publication VeloNews.
VP Strategic Growth
Chief Programs Officer
Executive Assistant and Women's Initiative Director
Director of Operations
Board of Directors - Marketing
Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward (Ret.)
Chairman of the Board
CEO, Central Region, UnitedHea
Peter Z. Horvath
Dennis A. Muilenburg
Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Hororo (Ret.)
Rear Adm. Mike Stocks (Ret.)
Director of Marketing Communications
Partnerships - West Region
Partnerships - Central Region
Partnerships - East Region
Ride 2 Recovery Operations Director
Ride 2 Recovery Participants
Leila Raffiee Shirazi
Participants Intern - R2R Programs
Program Manger - BAMC
Program Manager - WRNMMC
Operations & Training
Program Manager - Ohio
Project Hero Press Releases:
2017 Project Hero Launches New Era for Veterans and First Responders
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