MARATHON, Florida Keys — War-wounded military personnel pedaled their way across the Seven Mile Bridge and other parts of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Friday as a facet of the weekend’s Florida Keys Soldier Ride.
Some 44 injured soldiers and their supporters joined the activity, staged by the Wounded Warrior Project to provide inspiration and raise funds for injured comrades recovering in American military hospitals.
Although many riders are missing one or more limbs after combat injuries, the veterans used bicycles fitted with special adaptive equipment.
Along the route, many Keys residents waved American flags and thanked the soldiers for their service. On the Seven Mile Bridge, motorists tooted their horns to show appreciation.
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to raise public awareness and support for the needs of members of the military who have been severely injured while serving overseas in conflicts. The organization’s cross-country and Keys bicycle trips provide rehabilitative opportunities for injured soldiers.
The trips raise money to help foster independence among those with catastrophic injuries, transport soldiers and their families between home and hospital, and develop supportive peer-mentoring programs.
Saturday the Soldier Ride continues into Key West. Sunday morning the group is set to interact with dolphins at the Keys’ Dolphin Research Center.