March 7, 2017
The second day started in Brunswick and lead us along beautiful flat, tree lined Georgia roads to our first rest stop at the American Legion Post in historic Darien GA. We thank the American Legion for all their great support -- we simply could not achieve the goals of our Challenges without their help.
The 80 mile route on some of the flattest roads in the country featured warm tempratures and a brisk tailwind. On a ride through the countryside you go thru some of the quaint towns in southern Georgia like the town of Riceboro where the Mayor Pro Tem of Riceboro, Youth Center staff and volunteers from sponsor SNF Holding Company of Riceboro greeted us with open arms, tasty snacks and lots of useful insect repellent!
We had a special lunch stop near the gates of Ft. Stweart at the Game Changers Bike & Multisport store where we were hosted by owner John Cameron and the store staff, Project Hero rider Buddy Karolev from Ocala, FL and our contingent of Army riders from Ft. Stewart and had photos taken by The Savannah Morning News.
Buddy is riding his fourth Challenge Series and served at nearby Ft. Stewart so invited the command staff from the base, including Commander Colonel Hicks, who joined us for lunch and a memorable group photo and signed Project Hero jersey presentation in front of the Game Changers store. Thanks again to Game Changers for the hospitality and the USO who brought out their great rig and served a tasty lunch! For Buddy, Project Hero is as much about himself as it is about his fellow soldiers, veterans and riders.
“Ride 2 Recovery has been so therapeutic for me, it’s a great non-profit organization and is money well spent in support of our veterans,” he said. “Most of the soldiers I invite typically ride only 20-30 miles at a time, but yesterday they did 60 plus and they are feeling great! It’s great for us soldiers and everyone involved…once I get my guys out there, they’re hooked!”
Today being Project Hero jersey day it’s fitting to highlight one of our favorite veteran riders, Brook Williams from Phoenixville PA. Brook is a four-year Air Force and two-year Army veteran who worked as a statistical analyst with the 23rd OS and is enjoying his first Challenge Series ride with us. A lifelong athlete and competitor, his involvement with Project Hero began after he was introduced to Project Hero HUB Pinellas County. “I was riding a lot by myself and wanted to be with other riders on the road and met Mitch and Kelly during one of my rides. They introduced me to Ride 2 Recovery and I started riding with them and got involved with the program at Clearwater College. I’ve loved riding with the group ever since.” Brook was in the first group to leave Tropicana Field as part of our Florida Honor Ride last month, leading more than 400 riders through the streets of St. Petersburg. For Brook, Project Hero provides a unique opportunity to remain athletic and be part of a great community. “I wanted to do something to help me stay athletic and in shape. Project Hero gives me something to look forward to and the chance to continue to do that and compete as an athlete,” he said.
We finished the day into the historic civil war town of Savannah where Sherman's march to the sea helped end the Cival war but today we had some fun activities including hand waxing, a photo booth and cotton candy for the riders, all put together by our outstanding staffers Kristen Beck and Joe Coddington. Everyone enjoyed the treats at the finish and kudos to Kristen and Joe for making another day of our Challenge Series so memorable.
A link to media coverage from today follows below. The Coastal Courier from Riceboro covered our visit to the Youth Center and The Savannah Morning News covered our arrival today; local NBC affiliate WSAV–TV cover our departure tomorrow morning!
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