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Meet the W100K Organizations

Article by George W. Bush Presidential Center April 19, 2011 //   6 minute read

As part of the Social Enterprise Initiative, the Bush Institute honors the sacrifices troops and their families make for our freedom. The Institute helps military support organizations achieve their missions more effectively by raising awareness and spotlighting best practices.

As the inaugural event of the Social Enterprise initiative, the W100 will provide an opportunity for military support organizations to highlight their good work. The following organizations have partnered with the W100: the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery, World T.E.A.M Sports, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Challenged Athletes Foundation established Operation Rebound in 2004 as a valuable resource for service members and veterans who suffered permanent physical injuries in the current conflicts. In June 2008, CAF extended the program to recognize the sacrifices of military veterans past and present as well as those of first responders such as law enforcement and firefighters who were the first to respond to the September 11, 2001 attacks on our nation. CAF Operation Rebound supports all who have protected our freedom from military veterans of past eras to first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure the security of our homeland. CAF Operation Rebound is proud to support all who have served. CAF is sending three warriors to the W100 next week.

“CAF Operation Rebound is honored to take part in the President’s ride.  We appreciate President Bush’s continued dedication to our injured troops and our athletes are looking forward to riding with the President.” said Nico Marcolongo, program manager for Operation Rebound and a 14-year Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) supports Spinning® Recovery Labs and outdoor cycling programs at Military and VA locations around the U.S. to help injured veterans overcome obstacles they face. John Wordin, a former professional bicyclist, founded Ride 2 Recovery in 2008, as a way to help rehabilitate wounded veterans suffering from physical or post-traumatic stress-related injuries. Ride 2 Recovery adapts and provides custom bicycles for the wounded veterans that participate. These bikes stay with the warriors when they finish the ride to continue with their recovery process. Three of the W100 participants will be riding bikes adapted thru the technology provided by R2R. Ride 2 Recovery first came through Texas in 2009, riding from San Antonio to Arlington. Eight of the  W100 participants are alumni of the Ride 2 Recovery program.

World T.E.A.M. Sports uses sporting activities to challenge disabled and able bodied men, women and children to reach accomplishments they never thought possible. World TEAM Sports was founded in 1993 by James Benson, a Chicago native and businessman who watched as his friend Ricky Prine was excluded in athletic activities by other students simply because of his disability. Mr. Benson was inspired to create an organization that was inclusive, allowing disabled persons to participate at the same time as non-disabled athletes, rather than in separate groups, as is so often done at events.  The founding of WTS in 1993 followed an initial event in 1987, Ride Across America, which brought together 12 mentally challenged athletes and 15 non-disabled athletes in a cross-country bike ride from Newport Beach, CA to Jacksonville Beach, FL. This event served as a template for future events in the decades that followed, including Face of America rides and the Sea to Shining Sea ride in 2010. WTS is hosting a new Face of America ride this Veterans’ Day weekend in November, a Fort Hood, Texas to San Antonio ride that will honor both wounded warriors and disabled first responders. Two WTS warriors will be taking part in the W100.

In looking forward to the W100, World T.E.A.M. Sports President, Paul Bremer said, “In response to the President’s request, we were able to identify two wounded warriors who have taken part in other World T.E.A.M. Sports rides to join the President in this remarkable event. I’m sure riding with the President will be a thrill for them both.”

Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP was founded in 2003 by a group of veterans and friends who took action to help the injured servicemen and women of this generation. In April 2008, President Bush personally welcomed WWP to the White House, kicking off a three day Soldier Ride. Soldier Ride, an initiative that provides adaptive cycling opportunities across the country to help wounded warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, began in 2004 when civilian Chris Carney from Long Island, NY, completed a coast-to-coast bicycle ride, riding over 5,000 miles, and raised money to support WWP. WWP programs are uniquely structured to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement. WWP also provides activities such as snowboarding, skiing, hunting, fishing, archery, hiking, and camping to wounded warriors to adapt to life after injury. Four WWP alumni will participate in the W100.                                                            

About the W100, Wounded Warrior Project Executive Director Steve Nardizzi says, “Events like these play an important role in the physical and emotional recovery for wounded warriors.”

The W100 is the first event for the Social Enterprise Initiative of the Bush Center, an initiative that highlights those who find innovative ways to improve the lives of others. President Bush believes that a free society flourishes when its citizens serve a cause greater than themselves. Just as business entrepreneurs pioneer new ideas to create jobs, social entrepreneurs find innovative ways to turn around lives.

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