Last Updated: 09/28/2012*
They arrived in the chilly hours before dawn, 35 warriors assembled on the same green where the Minutemen had fought for American freedom 237 years ago.
They were all wounded warriors – some amputees, others recovering from less visible injuries – and on Sept. 22 they had come to Concord, Mass. to bicycle through the countryside where the American Revolution began.
The ride was a Soldier Ride, an event organized by the Wounded Warrior Project as a way to help rehabilitate injured soldiers and raise awareness about veterans’ issues.
Soldier Ride Boston began at 6:00 a.m., as volunteers from Raytheon and other supporters gathered in a New England drizzle to setup before welcoming the honored guests. Within hours, more than 300 people stood 100 yards from the Old North Bridge, where American militia members battled British troops in the first skirmish of the revolution in 1775.
The crowd cheered and clapped as the wounded warriors descended from a bus and mounted their bicycles for the 23-mile ride ahead.
The sense of history made it an emotional moment, said Susan Daly, who led the Raytheon volunteers.
“We were saying, `This is what we are here for. This is where liberty began – and thanks to you, thanks to you we still have that liberty,’” Daly said.
Soldier Ride started two days earlier as warriors rode through Cape Cod and Woods Hole, Mass. On Friday night, the Boston Red Sox hosted the veterans at the a game against the Orioles at Fenway Park. The crowd of 37,731 cheered as the wounded warriors were introduced and two fighter jets roared overhead.
On Saturday, the line of 35 warriors wove through the rolling hills of rural Massachusetts. Team Raytheon – comprised of thirty-five employees – collectively cycled over 1,000 miles alongside the warriors to raise almost $24,000, the most money from any team participating.
In addition, 18 Raytheon employee volunteers donated more than 200 hours altogether to staff registration and a welcome breakfast, fill water bottles and assist at water stations along the route. They also helped to host a luncheon afterward.
“It was a privilege to support the Wounded Warrior Project and its mission to honor and empower wounded warriors.” Raytheon cyclist Steve Forrest said.
Each non-warrior cyclist was responsible for raising a minimum of $150 to support Wounded Warrior Project programs and services in addition to a $25 registration fee. Participants received an official Soldier Ride National Tour T-shirt.
Four Raytheon employees raised more than $1,000 each, and three raised more than $2,000 each.
“Team Raytheon came out in force to show the warriors that we have their backs,” said Bob Connors, Raytheon’s Wounded Warrior Project Program Manager. “It was a small way to show our appreciation, but I’m so proud of our participants and riders for helping to make this event wildly successful.”
About the Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization that aims to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded warriors in the nation’s history. Tens of thousands of wounded warriors and family members receive support each year through WWP programs designed to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment. Raytheon’s five-year, $2.5 million grant to the WWP financially assists these programs and exemplifies the company’s commitment to armed services support efforts.
Raytheon’s partnership with Wounded Warrior Project continues to make a meaningful difference in the lives of wounded veterans and their families. In addition to employee giving and volunteerism, we’ve made great progress against program goals to date, including:
- Educating 539 wounded warriors or their family members in Information Technology skills, including CompTIA certification, far surpassing Wounded Warrior Project’s goals
- Expanding Transition Training Academies to include 11 facilities (from just two) across the U.S. and in Germany
- Empowering 124 wounded warriors or their family members who graduated from the Transition Training Academies to find IT jobs in the public and private sector
Wounded Warrior Project: www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
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