Wounded Warriors cycle through FolsomBy: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
Non-profit organization, the Wounded Warriors Project chose Folsom as their home for the weekend, as they cycled through town with nearly 40 disabled area veterans.
The Wounded Warriors Project is based out of Jacksonville, Florida, but chose Folsom to get down to business because of the variety of cycling and trail options.
David Griego, outreach coordinator for the Wounded Warriors Project, said they initially planned to go to Lake Tahoe, but their needs could not be accommodated, so they stayed in Folsom.
“We looked around town and people opened their arms wide to us. The Lake Natoma Inn met our needs and the community welcomed us,” Griego said. “When we find a place with community support, that’s what we like, so we decided to do the event in Folsom.”
Griego said the event was to help bring the disabled veterans together who may have become isolated.
“The purpose of the program is to help warriors and introduce them to a different kind of lifestyle. Most are isolated, so we help them reconnect with each other and reengage them with society and community, such as other veterans.”
He said that after each event, the veterans start friendships and go riding together, making a strong connection.
The 17-mile ride began on Friday, July 27, at Discovery Park in Sacramento and ended near Harrington Way in Carmichael. After, the group had a catered lunch and toured the Folsom State Prison Museum.
On Saturday, July 28, the event began at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova for another 17-mile ride all the way up to Beals Point and ending at the Lake Natoma Inn. In between the rides, the veterans were able to hangout and connect on a deeper level during meals and activities.
“Each year, the veterans from around the region participate in this cycling event. We accommodate whatever their needs are such as a hybrid bike, road bike – basically what they need based on their disability,” Griego said. “We do a bike check to make sure they are comfortable.”
Griego said the event went well and heard great things from the participating veterans.
“It’s not about them riding a bike, it’s about the connection they make,” he said. “The biggest highlight was on Saturday. We had a local rider who was a Vietnam veteran who met with us at the start point and rode with us the whole time.”
Griego said another special moment was when they passed a father and his daughters at a lemonade stand.
“We stopped and talked with them while we got some lemonade,” he said. “It was cool to see the community support around town.”
Griego said this year was a success, and they plan to come back to Folsom to host their event next year.