President Donald Trump speaks during an event for the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in the East Room of the White House on April 26, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

Soldier Ride participants honored at White House

April 26, 2018 - 5:05 pm

President Donald Trump hosted 70 wounded warriors at the White House this morning as they were undertaking a journey of healing and recovery together.

The veterans came to Washington, D. C. to participate in the annual “Soldier Ride” organized by the Wounded Warrior Project. The White House has been hosting riders of the event since 2005.

They have already biked in Annapolis, Maryland and the U.S. Naval Academy campus, and will being bicycling Friday at the Prince William Forest Park in Virginia.

The Soldier Rides, consisting of small groups between 30 to 50 veterans, has had almost 10,000 injured service members participate around the country, according to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project.

This year’s group also included caregivers and many wounded service members who were still in recovery and rehabilitation at military medical hospitals, according to Linnington.

“So, it’s just a great celebration to bring warriors together and watch them reform bonds of friendship and comradery, challenge themselves physically, and help themselves heal,” he said.

One of the warriors participating in the ride this year is Dan Nevins, who was severely injured in Iraq in 2004 from an IED, which eventually losing both legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury. In 2006 he participated in his first Soldiers Ride.

“You know I didn’t think I could do it and then I did,“ Nevins said. “And then I was really good at it and I was going fast.”

He found the Soldier Rides “empowering,” and found that he liked nothing more “than getting together with all the warriors to go ride bikes.”

“It’s sort of like you go through this shared suffering of figuring it out,” he added.

Gathered at the White House Thursday morning, Nevins and his fellow wounded warriors stood behind President Donald Trump as he saluted their service and sacrifice for the nation.

“Each of you is part of the long unbroken chain of courageous Americans who have answered the call in every generation,” he said.

Trump spoke of Nevins’ military service, his injuries, and praised how he never gave up throughout the healing process.

“And the Wounded Warrior Project was there to help Dan along his difficult journey where he’s had such tremendous success,” Trump said.

Nevins’ now found a passion in teaching yoga to other wounded warriors and still advocates for the Project’s programs.

“So Dan, I want to thank you for everything. You’re really an inspiration, everything you’ve done and will continue to do for our beloved nation,” Trump said.

With the wounded warriors surrounding him, the president called them “Our most incredible people,” and that as they embark on their Soldier Ride, “All of America will be cheering you on and watching.”

Nevins said he was still overwhelmed from being recognized by the president.

“It’s a very humbling and very unique experience that I never thought would happen,” he said.

He was moved that the president took the time to be there because “there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world and like this was a priority.”

For injured veterans who may be apprehensive about participating in a Soldier Ride due to their physical ability, Nevins said that besides first checking with a doctor, that the program will find a way to get you on a bike.

“And if you think you can’t, I promise you there’s a way that you can,” he said. “And the group moves at the speed of the group. And everyone is in it together and it’s the most uplifting, encouraging atmosphere that you can imagine.”

For veterans who think they are going to slow the group down, Nevins said have it all wrong because “everybody is just in it together.”

“If they can’t make it up a hill, then people will—sorry just get a little choked up from remembering it. Like, people will hop off their bikes and push you up the hill. Like, that is so good, it’s so good to see it happen,” he said.

Moments like that inspire those around them and they realize “I’m not in this alone. Like that, that’s the beauty of it.”

If you interested in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride program, go to woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/soldier-ride