Disabled Veterans from Cross-Country Bicycle Team Visit Drake Center

Sea to Shining Sea TeamCincinnati—July 13, 2012—Four disabled American veterans from the 16-member Wounded Warriors Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bicycle team visited patients at Drake Center on Thursday, July 12, to inspire them as they work to overcome their disabilities. The team’s tour will take them from San Francisco to Virginia Beach, making stops along the way, offering a message of perseverance.

Marine Corps veteran Michael Manning said the message he and the other riders have is a simple one:  “In a hospital, in a wheelchair, you cannot give up…don’t give up…there’s too much to live for…there’s life after disabilities.” He said their goal is to lift up others with their stories of personal triumph.

Robbie Warren, who was seriously injured in an ATV accident a year ago and is currently receiving physical therapy at Drake, said he found the veterans’ message very inspirational “coming from one person to another to me, especially because I try so hard every day.”

Harlan Cornett and John Cullen, two other Drake patients, were inspired by the veterans’ personal stories of struggle and triumph.  Cornett , who was shot last year, said what inspired him most about their stories was that they didn’t let anything stop them, not even traumatic brain injuries. Cullen, who suffered a severe head injury in a bicycle accident, said, “It’s just amazing to see what people have gone through and how they’re willing to overcome what’s happened to them and keep moving on.”

The veterans on the bicycle tour fought in Iraq, Afghanistan Bosnia, and Vietnam and have disabilities ranging from loss of limbs to blindness to post traumatic stress. They are riding bicycles, hand cycles, and recumbent cycles, providing a dramatic example that disabled Americans lead productive lives and accomplish remarkable athletic feats.

The disabled veteran’s stop in Cincinnati was hosted by GE Aviation Veteran’s Network. Former Drake patient and GE Engineer Joe Gavigan, a member of the Network, conceived the idea for the visit and escorted the riders, along with other GE employee veterans.

Plans are already underway for the next Sea to Shining Sea bike tour in 2014.

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