An accomplished and expert cyclist, Jayme oversees Project Hero programs in our central region. Jayme Brown, a native of Austin, Texas, who joined Project Hero in 2013.
Describe your first experience with R2R:
I will never forget my first riding experience with R2R at the 2013 Bluegrass Challenge, day 3, cycling 78 miles into Louisville. I rode with Charlie group for the day, and as we rode, I found that the pace was not too difficult from the back of the group. But then I was asked to make my way up front to help block wind and to help with a hand cyclist. This would be my introduction into pushing and riding with some of the greatest people I have come to know.
For 55 miles I sat on the front and assisted hand cyclists who needed a little extra help to keep the pace over the rolling hills. Up until that point, I had some hard days on a bike: 165 miles solo through Texas hill country, 12-hour and 24-hour mountain bike races with team members, marathon bike races in the deserts, cold/wet/hot/humid commutes while living without a car for a couple of years, but nothing was as physically demanding, emotionally straining, and as rewarding as helping another person finish a day’s ride.
What is your role with Project Hero/R2R?
I am the Operations and Training Program Manager for the Central Region. My role is to help ensure that all of our reps in the central region are informed of everything that is happening within Project Hero and to help build stronger cycling hubs around the region so that more Veterans, First Responders, and service members have access to cycling opportunities.
How did you get involved with Project Hero/R2R?
I have been volunteering and working with R2R for almost five years now. A good buddy, college roommate, summer camp partner, fellow wrench, cycling brother, and Marine told me that he was riding and volunteering with R2R, and if I ever had an opportunity, I should volunteer with them. I lost my friend not long afterwards, and I took his words to heart. I registered as a volunteer for the 2013 Texas Challenge as a mechanic and ride support, was asked to help with the Bluegrass Challenge and was brought on staff as the Central Region Program Manager and assistant mechanic for the Challenge Series right before the Memorial Challenge that year.
What is the most significant problem facing our Veterans today?
Our Vteterans today face a number of logistical challenges: gaining access to quality care from the VA, acquiring civilian accreditation for jobs they performed while in service, and getting assistance on how they can use their GI Bill. They also face bouts with depression, anxiety, and loneliness stemming from unseen injuries not always recognized by their health case managers. But I think the most significant challenge our veterans face is time. They need time to talk to others, time to check in with family and friends, time with doctors for quality health care, time with senators and representatives so they understand and can fight for Veterans’ rights, time for healing.
Describe your passion for cycling and your goals as part of Project Hero.
If you can’t already tell, I love cycling. I’ve loved it for many years, and I will enjoy it and keep riding for many more years to come. I think my passion for cycling shows in how much time I devote to helping others discover the joys, freedom and tranquility cycling offers.
I wish to help this program reach as many people as possible. I hope every person we reach takes time and gives cycling a chance. I hope that they embrace cycling and all its therapeutic and physical benefits to others around them. I plan on achieving these goals by ensuring I give every person an equal opportunity to ride a bike, no matter what they look like, no matter what their physical disability may be, no matter what their VA status says. If you have a desire to improve yourself, I’m here to help. I’m able to ride and work with an outstanding group of service members and Veterans, and I’m happy to be here every day. To do this work is literally a dream come true for me.
What is your message to the Veterans and First Responders of Project Hero?
Ride your bike, enjoy the wind in your face, embrace the next hill, respect gravity, be free and share that freedom with others.
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