Heroic Cyclists Inspire

Wounded warrior ride goes past Meadows
By: Todd Martin
A bit shorter than usual, but no less powerful, the annual cross-state bicycle trek featuring recovering wounded warriors rode past Meadows Elementary School Thursday, with cyclists easing to the edge of the road to high-five excited students.
The school, situated on Tank Destroyer Road a few blocks from the main gate enjoys the advantage of location when the heroic cyclists make their way each April through the installation.
Lining the street adjacent to the school building, students waved flags, held banners and cheered as the cyclists approached and pedaled past.
Principal Peter Hartley, acknowledging that soldiers are “part of the lifeblood of the school” on post, said every year the cyclists provide powerful encouragement and example of courage for students and staff.
“It’s my absolute favorite part of the year,” said first-grade teacher Jennifer Spiegelhauer as she walked her students back into the building following the burst of excitement as 40 cyclists rode past the school with police escort.
Her young students always ask questions, giving the teacher a chance to explain why soldiers go to combat to protect the nation and sometimes get injured, but then receive the held they need.
Children have noticed over the years, bicyclists equipped with a hook or cycling with prosthetic legs.
“We talk about freedom and why we sometimes go to war,” the teacher said.
“I think it’s nice community building,” said third-grade teacher Jennifer Boehmker, who saw the ride for the first time this year. “They can see veterans in a different light. It’s wonderful.”
For fourth-grader Wilson Rutherford, the ride to recovery is an annual sight he’s experienced at the KISD school on Fort Hood multiple times.
“I like it,” Rutherford said. “It’s a good idea. It makes me think about our country, our military and how good they protect and serve us.”
The Texas Challenge, part of Project Hero, helps military personnel and emergency first responders recovering from traumatic injury, according to information from Fort Hood Public Affairs.
The ride through Fort Hood and Central Texas Thursday marked the fourth day of a 300-mile ride from Austin to Arlington.