With contributions from Lt. Cmdr. Fritz Kuebler.
Torrential rain and 30-knot winds sounds like the perfect recipe for a search and rescue case but 20 Coast Guard men and women recently found themselves braving the elements on a mission of a different kind – a 110-mile bike ride in honor of American men and women injured defending our country.
In completing the two-day Face of America ride from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg, Pa., Team Coast Guard 1790 raised more than $8,000 for World TEAM Sports, a non-profit aimed at changing the way the world perceives those with disabilities through sport.
“It was a distinct honor and privilege to ride with Team Coast Guard 1790 for Face of America this year,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt. “The conditions were challenging, but they were nothing compared to the challenges our wounded warriors face on a daily basis.”
The conditions were indeed challenging. With major storm fronts rolling into the D.C. area Saturday morning, organizers had to think long and hard before letting the riders depart. But there was no stopping the 500 cyclists – including 90 wounded warriors – ready to demonstrate the true meaning of the American spirit.
One of those veterans is former Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class David Moulton. Moulton was medically retired in 2010 after incurring severe injuries to his right arm and shoulder during a search and rescue case off of Key West, Fla. His injuries required a total shoulder replacement and a prosthetic right arm bone, but they couldn’t dampen his spirit.
“We owe our veterans so much for what they’ve done for our country,” said Lt. Cmdr. Fritz Kuebler, one of Team Coast Guard 1790’s captains. “What happened to BM2 Moulton could happen to any of us out on a mission. They are our heroes and why we are honored to wear the uniform.”
A tornado watch cut the first leg of the ride short by about 10 miles, but day two saw sunny skies, albeit 20-knot winds, and gave the riders the mental edge they needed to see the ride through to its conclusion at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.
“The determination and ‘can do’ attitudes of the wounded warriors was incredibly uplifting and made this an experience I will never forget,” said Leavitt. “That said, please, let’s not forget the sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made for us.”
Click here to learn more about World TEAM Sports and the 2012 Face of America.