PALMDALE – About 150 riders cycled through Palmdale Saturday to make a difference in the lives of healing heroes.
The bicyclists were part of Ride2Recovery’s inaugural Amgen Tour of California Honor Ride Palmdale, a self-paced, non-competitive race that raises funds for injured veterans.
“We do this is to honor those that have fallen and those that have come back but have challenges and need some help,” said Linda Glassel, National Director of the Honor Ride Program. “Cycling is a wonderful means of rehabilitation, both physically and mentally, for our healing heroes.”
Opening ceremonies for the event kicked off at Marie Kerr Park around 8:30 a.m. and was hosted by Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.
“We want to show our continued support to our veterans – active, retired, their families, the entire veteran network in the Antelope Valley,” Ledford said. “But most of all we’re here for the families of our lost veterans, the people that gave the ultimate sacrifice defending this great nation.”
The event paid tribute to several local fallen war heroes and their families. Among those honored were John E. Allen, Ryan Clark, George Delgado, Keith Fiscus, Walter Freeman, Jason George, Fernando Hannon, Christopher Leon, Joseph Lopez, Javier Olvera, Brian Pedro, Matthew Ramsey, Marvin Sprayberry, Ian Stewart and Allan Walker.
“For me, it feels like my son is alive,” said Martha Olvera, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Javier Olvera. “Even though I cannot see him, he is always here with me. I know a lot of people are doing good and it’s because of Javier.”
“It makes us feel pretty good and special that Matthew gets to be honors and remembered through the Valley, because he grew up here,” said Melissa Cochran, the mother of Spc. Matthew Ramsey.
“It helps us to know that he will never be forgotten, and that kind of helps with the healing process, to know that he’s loved and missed,” said Mirella, wife of Matthew Ramsey.
The race, itself, began shortly after 9 a.m., with bicyclists riding 20, 44, or 71-mile routes that began and ended at Marie Kerr Park.
All participants were awarded medals upon crossing the finish line.
Palmdale is one of three Amgen Tour of California host cities holding Ride2Recovery Honor Rides in conjunction with the race. Escondido is holding an Honor Ride on May 12, and Santa Rosa’s Honor Ride is May 19.
Funds raised will help injured veterans participate in Project HERO cycling programs on 34 military installations and three VA sites. This includes the purchase of bikes, helmets and other equipment.
For further information on Ride2Recovery, visit www.ride2recovery.com.
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