Co-op News

Wanted: Ride 2 Recovery Volunteers

By Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer Published: April 20th, 2014

This spring, be on the lookout for wounded warriors pedaling through local highways and byways under the Ride 2 Recovery banner.

Under a bucket truck arch, R2R cyclists push off for Fort Worth, Texas, the final stop of a week-long ride. (Photo By: Mauri Montgomery)

Under a bucket truck arch, R2R cyclists push off for Fort Worth, Texas, the final stop of a week-long ride. (Photo By: Mauri Montgomery)

A national nonprofit that uses cycling to heal war veterans’ physical and emotional wounds, R2R’s week-long, 350-450 mile cycling challenges cross areas served by electric cooperatives.

And if your co-op is on a challenge route this year, you can help wounded vets cross the finish line.

NRECA, which donated $10,000 to R2R last year, is working with local R2R organizers on volunteer opportunities for co-ops in other parts of the country later this year. Upcoming events include the Bluegrass Challenge, April 26-May 3, from Cincinnati to Nashville, Tenn., and the Memorial Challenge, May 25-June 1, from Washington, D.C., to Virginia Beach, Va.

Initial response from co-ops has been “terrific,” said Peter Baxter, NRECA senior vice president of insurance and financial services.

“NRECA’s support of the R2R program always had the involvement of member co-ops and their communities in mind. I am proud that we can provide some degree of facilitation and coordination with co-ops that have events occurring in their service territories.”

In Texas, more than three dozen volunteers from United Cooperative Services, HILCO Electric Cooperative and NRECA helped 200-plus vets during the Texas Challenge, March 22-29, from Houston to Fort Worth.

UCS line crews unfold the flag for the R2R sendoff: From far left: Jason Forbes, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and Joel Jernigan. (Photo By: Mauri Montgomery)

UCS line crews unfold the flag for the R2R sendoff: From far left: Jason Forbes, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and Joel Jernigan. (Photo By: Mauri Montgomery)

Riders stayed overnight near UCS’s headquarters in Cleburne, March 27, and volunteers helped load cyclists’ luggage on vans the next morning before they embarked on the last leg of the ride. Volunteers also staged a celebratory send-off with two bucket trucks and an American flag.

“As a Marine Corps veteran, participating in an event like Ride 2 Recovery is very important to me and my family,” said Brad Mead, UCS information systems and technology administrator. “Working for an organization that supports our veterans, as well as our active duty military personnel, makes me proud to call myself a United Cooperative Services employee.”

If you would like to volunteer during an R2R challenge, contact Jon Anderson, NRECA director, proposals and new business, jon.anderson@nreca.coop; 703-907-6072.

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