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Soldier bike ride looking to expand

September 6, 2009 12:43:08 PM PDT
Although it is a year away, the 150 mile Midwest Soldier Ride is looking to expand, with more vets with disabilities riding as more bicycles become adapted. The first Midwest Soldier Ride took place June 10 through the 14th. Twenty-two of the riders were disabled vets.

Daniel Casara was one of them. He became disabled on September 23rd, 2005, in Iraq.

"I was in a tank, it blew up. We rolled over an anti-tank mine that flipped our tank over," said Casara. "To my injuries, I had bilateral fractures in my right tibia, a shattered left tibia which has been replace by a titanium rod, both of my heels and ankle bones were shattered, both my calcareous bones are not fused, and a dislocated right hip. I've had 24 surgeries."

"I'm finally walking," Casara said. "I was in a wheelchair from October to June, October '05 to June '06, then I graduated to a walker from a walker to crutches, crutches to a cane."

Now he is riding a bike. This wouldn't be possible if not for Hal Honeyman, owner of Bike Rack in St. Charles, and his involvement with Wounded Warrior Project.

"The Wounded Warrior Project has a pool of about 40 to 50 bikes of all different kinds that goes around the country. So for the ride they will have a bike there, we'll figure out what they need, make necessary modifications, and they have the bike for the length of the ride," said Honeyman.

For Casara, they adapted the pedal.

"What they did was they put this extender on that gives my foot the ability to get in, because at this point my foot has-- its angled out about 25 degrees outward, and that's just from the surgeries and trauma to my foot," Casara said.

Soldier Ride is the Wounded Warrior Project's nationwide fundraiser. Kevin Hull is the local representative.

"We adapt the equipment to these individuals and send them out on their 100, 150 mile rides, which is really all about empowerment, showing their ability, really advancing that human ability and their own taking of their own life forward into the communities with their families," said Hull.

Being part of the Soldier Ride has given Casara the opportunity to focus on what he can do.

"There's so many things that I've done that I just didn't think I could do, nor did I do prior to my injury, but being around people like the Wounded Warrior -- those other individuals at the Wounded Warrior Project -- and having folks like Hull and the Bike Rack that can adapt or put together machines, or pieces of medal and aluminum and so forth, to adapt to us or adapt to our way of living," said Casara.

If you are interested in getting involved, he Midwest 2010 Soldier Ride is scheduled for mid-June.

Bike Rack has been adapting bicycles for children and adults with disabilities over 12 years. For more information, go to www.woundedwarriorproject.com or thebikerack.com.


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