The group headed from Fort Hood to Waco on day four. The support was overwhelming, including a special visit from Maj. Gen. Will Grimsley, deputy commanding general for III Corps and Fort Hood. "This is really a ride for inspiration for the rest of us,“ Grimsley said.
One rider explained how the time together on the road was affecting the cyclists: "The groups are really starting to solidify and the group camaraderie could not be higher. The wind really helped out. There are so many great stories to tell. One rider…is riding a hand cycle. He has never used a handcycle until this ride and so far has made every mile.
[caption id="attachment_1934” align=“aligncenter” width=“480” caption=“Riders were welcomed by Fort Hood’s senior leadership and then cheered on by thousands of motivated troops, who lined the road for 4 ½ miles on both sides of the road.”][/caption]
Day five the riders were starting to appreciate the finer points of pack riding, mastering skills that even accomplished riders have a hard time with. Groups of recreational cyclists showed their support by joining the group along the way, the biggest being "Team Texas,“ a group led by Tony and Big Ed. They have really helped out and organized he warriors into impressive formations. By riding in the group, the participants are able to stay together and better enjoy the countryside. Support from the American Legion riders, and the Legion Auxiliary was tremendous. The dinners were especially appreciated!
[caption id="attachment_1935” align=“aligncenter” width=“336” caption=“The biggest group of recreation cyclists to ride along since the beginning has been the "Team Texas” group led by Tony and Big Ed. They really helped out and organized he warriors into impressive formations. By riding in the group, the participants were able to stay together and better enjoy the countryside.“][/caption]
The final day found the riders on the road from Cleburne to Arlington. Their final destination was Arlington Ranger’s Ballpark, where special guest Nolan Ryan was waiting to greet the group at the finish ceremony, along with Duane Wagner, a highly decorated Viet Nam Veteran, who would throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
Before arriving at the ballpark, though, it was time for one more special group of cyclists to join along: the Texas Rangers brought ‘em home in another R2R first, as the group rode together for the last 20 miles instead of the usual five. Lots of laughter and nostalgia filled the air.
Welcome to Arlington.
[caption id="attachment_1936” align=“aligncenter” width=“368” caption=“As the riders left the town of Cleburne on their way to Arlington, the town in between - Keene - had a special welcome for the riders. They had lined the street with American flags and the Mayor and other civic leaders had a ceremony to welcome the participants.”][/caption]
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Mar 20, 2017
Deployed Service Members ‘Break Free from Reality’ at USO Bagram's Paint and Sip Program
Before 2016, the last time Army Sgt. Derek Peterson picked up a paint brush was in high school – which, he admits, was quite a few years ago. “I would like to be [considered an artist],” Peterson said. “But I hadn’t done any real art since [then].” So, when Peterson heard about the USO Southwest Asia’s two new art programs – Paint and Sip and Art on Tap -- during a recent deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back to his creative roots