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Injured veterans pass through Central Texas in annual Ride 2 Recovery

You may see a different variety of cyclists headed through Central Texas today and tomorrow, part of a tradition that began a few years ago. (Additional information from United Healthcare) On April 25, riders will participate in the third annual Clay Hunt Honor Ride in Fort Worth, which honors the memory of Houston native Sgt. Clay Hunt, a sniper with the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hunt rode with Ride 2 Recovery for three years and was scheduled to participate in the 2011 Texas Challenge. However, his internal battles against the physical, emotional and psychological effects of war became too difficult, and he took his own life two days before the Challenge. On Feb. 12, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act, which will provide much needed funds to improve access to quality mental health care, and help reduce military and veterans suicides. The Honor Ride is a one-day, noncompetitive ride open to injured veterans and the general public. Participants have a choice of three distances - 23, 35 or 75 miles - all of which begin and end at the Fort Worth Stockyards. A community celebration will be held at the 75 mile mark in Roanoke. For more information on the Honor Ride, visit https://www.ride2recovery.com/honorRide.php. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help make this event come to life and to support the exercise and rehabilitation services that are important to the health and well-being of our veterans,” said Tom Quirk, CEO, and UnitedHealthcare of Texas. “We encourage Texans along the route to come out, wave their flags and cheer on these extraordinary veterans and supporters.” This is the sixth year that UnitedHealthcare will serve as Ride 2 Recovery’s presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America’s injured veterans. This year, UnitedHealthcare is the presenting sponsor of six Ride 2 Recovery cycling challenges scheduled across the United States and in Germany. Jonathan Dade from Georgetown, Texas, is one of many veterans who found their way back into civilian life through Ride 2 Recovery. “A lot of my physical wounds had healed, but emotionally I was struggling," said Dade. He was out of the Navy for two years when a friend recommended in 2011 that he try cycling in the Memorial Challenge in Washington, D.C. He completed a 50-mile ride that first time and rode the full challenge the following year. Now he’s a regular cyclist, riding with groups around Georgetown. “Cycling has been more therapeutic for me than seeing a psychologist,” he said. “It's a way of bringing you back to what you once were.” The riders share many common bonds as veterans, and some say the level of catharsis offered by the Ride 2 Recovery Challenges is unparalleled. “The UnitedHealthcare Challenge Series is all about the mental and physical challenge of getting your life back by restoring hope and purpose,” said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. “There are veterans that come to these rides to help themselves and help each other. There is no other program like this that combines the hard work and the reward of completing a goal you set for yourself that you were not sure you could accomplish. For these men and women, cycling becomes a life-changing addition to their physical and mental rehabilitation.”
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