Ride 2 Recovery Helps Injured Veterans - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Ride 2 Recovery Helps Injured Veterans

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More than 200 injured veteran and their supporters are cycling through Panama City as part of the Ride 2 Recovery Gulf Coast Challenge.

It is an organization that helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through the sport of cycling. 

The trek from New Orleans to Panama City is an exhilarating challenge for many of these injured veterans. For some like Timothy McGill, it would have been nearly impossible before he found Ride 2 Recovery.

"For a while I was pretty much a hermit. I didn't go outside. I stayed in my chair...It sounds like a dream but I didn't like it. I was really active before I got injured," says McGill.

McGill, a retired soldier, suffers from a laundry list of injuries and illnesses, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a Traumatic Brain Injury as well as Scoliosis and Degenerate Disc Disease. Needless to say, life after the service wasn't exactly as easy as riding a bike.

"I tried riding up-right my first challenge in Texas back in 2011. I finished it but it hurt me," says McGill.

Ride 2 Recovery gave McGill a special recumbent bike, allowing him to ride and heal with men and women like himself.

"No matter how bad you think you have it, there's always someone out there that's worse off than you. They know how to handle some issues or they may have the same issues as you," says McGill.

For others who may not be as physically challenged, riding with a group of veterans like this is an eye opening experience.

"The real grope for me, you listen to these guys that got into drugs after their injuries alcohol, lost vision, lost hope and you see what this program has done for them," says Col. Jeff Ponkratz.

It may be an uphill battle, not just on a bike, but it has helped many switch gears in the right direction.

Friday, the cyclists will take on the last leg of the trip to Tallahassee.