Wounded warriors gear up for soldier ride

Event raises awareness, money, allows wounded vets to connect with others

Author: Cory Smith, Reporter, csmith@ksat.com
Published On: Nov 14 2012 06:42:42 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 14 2012 06:44:53 PM CST

Service members from each branch of the military will be in San Antonio this weekend for the sixth-annual Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride.

On Wednesday, veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fitted for the bikes they’ll use to participate in the two-day riding event.

“We have guys that are double- and triple-amputees out riding, and they haven’t been able to do anything in a physical activity setting for a long time,” said San Antonio Soldier Ride coordinator John Koenck. “This is their freedom for a lot of guys.”

The event raises awareness and money for the organization and allows wounded vets to connect with others who have served.

“After you get out of the hospital, after the recovery, the rehab, sometimes you tend to shy away and just isolate yourself,” said Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Christopher Kind. “Coming back around these guys, you come alive again.”

Leonard Chargaulaf said he’s riding to give back to the organization that helped him make the transition back to civilian life.

He suffered damage to his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device.

“I was a shut-in before I found my other brothers from the other services,” he said. “I never used to go out and talk to anybody and now that I’m here, I'm a little more open to talk to people and now can relate with others what I experienced and what they have experienced.”

For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.