By Nicole A. Elliott, Rome Sentinel
June 24, 2014 Rome, New York – “Welcome to Rome!”
Bystanders adorned in patriotic red, white and blue, some waving American flags and flashing signs, shouted cheers of encouragement and good wishes as about 27 injured veterans and supporters cycled down West Chestnut Street Monday afternoon.
Rome was among the several small-town stops on a 14-day bicycle trip from Canada to Washington, D.C. by the team of veterans representing three countries — the United States, Canada and Denmark.
They were treated to a spaghetti dinner by Rome Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and then enjoyed a hot shower and comfortable bed overnight at the Wingate Hotel at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.
The contingent included 16 injured veterans biking with nine able-bodied riders, also accompanied by support staff in some vehicles, according to the World T.E.A.M. Sports organization, which coordinated the event. The nearly 800-mile trip was geared to build awareness and provide inspiration.
Participants include veterans who served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Among their disabilities are loss of limb, paralysis, post-traumatic stress, brain injuries, and blindness in some cases.
Two able-bodied riders are serving as pilots for blind veterans using tandem bicycles, according to World T.E.A.M. Sports.
“The ride does two things: It provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an athletic event of this magnitude and it allows communities to observe people with disabilities and highlights the fact that their disabilities could be merely nuisances and can easily be overcome,” said World T.E.A.M. Chief Executive Officer Van Brinson.
Read the full story at the Rome Sentinel website.