Sorrento resident Tanya Whitney took part in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride on June 25-26 in Pittsburgh.
The Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride brought veterans and soldiers together from across the country for a two-day rehabilitative cycling event, a news release said.
“The programs presented by WWP have allowed me to connect with others suffering similar injuries,” Whitney said. “This may not seem to be a big deal, but it is. You think you are alone with how you feel and sometimes guilty because you know others have much greater injuries. However, the WWP alumni engaged in their programs come from all different backgrounds.”
Whitney retired from the Army in 2010 after nearly 28 years of service. Returning home from a series of deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern and African countries, she was left with back, hip and knee injuries and residual effects of a traumatic brain injury.
She enrolled in WWP in 2011 and began attending events as her recovery allowed. Whitney soon became part of the organization as a peer mentor for fellow wounded warriors and has attended summits on female veteran issues in Washington, D.C., for WWP.
Beginning with a 13-mile ride on June 25 through Pittsburgh, the group went to Moraine State Park the next day for a 16-mile ride that wound through the park’s bike trails.
“During the Soldier Ride, I had a chance to reconnect not only with warriors I had met before but to gain valuable friendships with others,” she said. “The teamwork and camaraderie of the weekend allowed me to feel, once again, I was part of the military.”
The ride marked the first time in five years that Whitney rode a bike.
“It was great to be able to do something that I thought had been lost to me with my physical limitations,” she said. “It was an experience that gives me more confidence and the ability to grow in new ways that I thought were lost to me after I retired from the Army.”
The WWP Solider Ride objectives are to give veterans who have suffered physical or mental injury during their service an opportunity to gain confidence and meet others with similar challenges. The WWP provides free clothing and equipment to those who participated.