Soldiers bike ride symbol of healing for wounded warriors

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- While most people were dressed in warm coats in what amounted to a very cold morning in Clear Lake, a long line of cyclists rode into Space Center Houston, then to Johnson Space Center next door.

They had a large reception committee, and a round of applause to greet them.

That's the kind of response Soldier Ride Houston generated Friday. A project of Wounded Warrior Project, it organized for veterans who have physical or emotional scars from their tours of duty.

It's the 11th year of the ride.

Nick Kraus is one of the founders of the ride.

"We're here to empower them, and get them back at it. Nothing's going to get them down," he said.

There's no denying that for some of the vet/riders, life has changed. Some have lost limbs, which would make traditional cycling impossible. For them, there are hand cycles.

That's fine by a female vet from Minnesota, who served in Iraq. Today, Sarah Ditto deals with a list of issues.

"I hurt my knees, my legs, my back and my neck in the service," she says. "But today, I rode two miles and it seemed like two blocks. I can't wait to get one of these cycles."

She and the rest of the riders where brought to the bay area, courtesy of Wounded Warrior Project. Some are from Texas. Others, like Ditto, are from other states. The event is designed to get them out of the homes, or out of hospital beds, and get them moving. It shows them the potential their "new" lives have.

The ride wraps up Saturday in Galveston, then the vets return home. Perhaps with a few sore muscles, but with smiles.

For more on the project, go to null
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