Tag Archive | "Wounded Warrior Project"

Saddling Up for Soldier Ride

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Heller_Soldier Ride 2013 for the web

Last year’s Soldier Ride. Photo by Michael Heller.

Soldier Ride The Hamptons, encompassing both 5-kilometer walks and a 30-mile bike ride, will return this Saturday, July 19, to the East End.

The annual fundraiser project for the Wounded Warrior Project is held in honor of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter who was killed in Iraq in 2008.

The 30-mile bicycle ride to North Haven will set off from Ocean View Farm in Amagansett at 9 a.m. A pair of 5-kilometer walks will leave from Ocean View Farm and Marine Park on Bay Street in Sag Harbor at the same time.

Soldier Ride had its beginnings when Chris Carney, an East Hampton fitness instructor, rode his bicycle from Montauk to California to raise money for wounded soldiers. The fundraising idea was soon adopted by the Wounded Warrior Project.

Registration for this year’s event begins at 7 a.m., with  kick-off celebration at Ocean View Farm taking place at 8:30. There will be  tribute to Lance Cpl. Haerter at 10:30 in Sag Harbor, followed by the Lap of Heroes at 11. The day’s events will culminate with  picnic at Ocean View Farm at noon.

The fee to participate in the bike ride is $60. There is a $25 fee for walker. Participants in the bike ride are asked to raise a minimum of $75 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Those who raise at least $250 will receive a Wounded Warrior Project license plate cover. All participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt.

Donations can also be sent to Wounded Warrior Project, Attn.: Nicole Gordon/Soldier Ride Hamptons, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 32256.

For more information about signing up, visit the Soldier Ride the Hamptons website.

Solider Ride The Hamptons Hopes for Patriotic Turnout

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WHEN JOANN LYLES’ SON JORDAN was brought home to rest in Sag Harbor after perishing defending an entry control point in the Sophia region of Ramadi, Iraq in April of 2008, she was greeted by a solemn, but grateful, hometown decked out in red, white and blue – symbolic of the country Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter signed up to defend.

This Saturday, Lyles hopes residents and business owners in the Sag Harbor area give as proud a welcome to the wounded warriors who will ride with community members from across the East End in Soldier Ride — an event that supports the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides support and rehabilitation opportunities for servicemen and servicewomen and their families.

“It was overwhelming,” said Lyles on Tuesday. “What happened for Jordan and for [Army First Lieutenant] Joseph Theinert [a Shelter Island resident killed this June in Afghanistan] – seeing that you just know that people care and I think the wounded warriors will all feel that this weekend. So many servicemen, in particular from the Vietnam era, never got the welcome home they deserve and as a mother seeing people thank them for service, it means a lot.”

Lyles’ organization, In Jordan’s Honor, is sponsoring two contests Saturday for Sag Harbor residents, community groups and businesses, and plans to award prizes for “Most Patriotic Display” and “Shows the Most Spirit.” Lyles’ is encouraging people on the Soldier Ride cycling and walking routes in Sag Harbor, which includes Main Street, to decorate homes and businesses in red, white and blue, display flags, set up water stations for riders, make signs supporting their troops and line the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge and Main Street to support participants in Soldier Ride, in particular, veterans riding in the event.

Lyles borrowed the idea from Tim and Janet Scherer, of East Northport, whose son Corporal Christopher Sherer died at age 21 from wounds sustained in combat in the Anbar province of Iraq in July of 2007. The couple hosts a walk and run, “I Did the Grid” Memorial Day weekend and hand out similar awards for patriotic displays. Inspired, Lyles said she hopes it will draw people to support the Soldier Ride event.

This is the third year Lyles son with Chris Haerter, another Sag Harbor resident, will be honored at the Soldier Ride The Hamptons event, with a tribute from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the base of the bridge named in his honor. Lyles, who will walk with Theinert’s mother and stepfather in the event, said becoming involved with Soldier Ride has given her the opportunity to celebrate her son, while being involved with an organization close to her heart.

Soldier Ride was founded in 2004, when East Hampton resident and Railroad Avenue Fitness owner Chris Carney teamed up with Stephen Talkhouse owner Peter Honerkamp and other locals to design an event to support Joe Melia’s Wounded Warrior Project.

Carney cycled cross-country, raising over a million dollars for the organization, setting off for a second cross-country cycling trip in 2005.

Since then Soldier Ride has evolved into a national program, hosting cycling and walking events aimed at not only raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, but also at providing rehabilitative sporting equipment and training for troops wounded in overseas combat.

Last year, in honor of Haerter, the Amagansett-based event expanded into Sag Harbor. Last week, Lyles said she hopes eventually Soldier Ride will also include a leg through Shelter Island, the home of Theinert. Lyles said she plans to honor the fallen soldier in her address at the tribute to her son.

The event begins Saturday with registration at 8 a.m. at Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and at Oceanview Farm in Amagansett. Participants can choose from 30 or 60-mile bicycle routes beginning in Amagansett, or participate in one of two four-mile walk/run routes in Amagansett or Sag Harbor.

The 30 mile-route takes riders from Amagansett to Sag Harbor for the Haerter dedication and then back through Amagansett. Following the tribute to Haerter, at noon Carney will lead a group of wounded veterans down Main Street, Sag Harbor in an event dubbed “Honor Our Heroes.”

The 60-mile route extends the cycling tour from Amagansett to Montauk Point Lighthouse, and back to Amagansett for a celebratory barbeque at Oceanview Farm. Last year’s event raised $200,000 and Lyles admitted it may be hard to top. But she’s hopeful.

“And I hope we see a lot of red, white and blue out there,” she said.

To register for Solider Ride, visit soldierridethehamptons.com. The cost is $50 for cycling, $25 for the walk/run and $75 for cycling on the day of the event. For more information, call 903-1701.

Solider Ride to Honor Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter

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For the second year in a row, Solider Ride, the Hamptons is dedicated to Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, a marine who was killed a year ago in Iraq, but this year’s event will bring the fundraiser to Haerter’s hometown of Sag Harbor.

Soldier Ride, the Hamptons will take place on Saturday, July 25 and will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization founded by Joe Melia to provide support for U.S. servicemen and women returning to the United States after overseas combat. Whether it be Wounded Warrior’s signature backpack filled with toiletries, amenities and clothing, or outreach, career counseling, advocacy, family and coping services, the Wounded Warrior Project is dedicated to providing resources for servicemen and women returning from overseas, many with life altering injuries.

Soldier Ride has also evolved to become a rehabilitative sporting event for injured soldiers, some who are learning to live with injuries that have resulted in amputation.

This year’s route for both the 28-mile or 65-mile bike ride or four mile walk brings the event through Sag Harbor Village, with a special tribute to Lance Corporal Haerter scheduled to begin on Long Wharf at 11:30 a.m., roughly half way through part of the scheduled bike ride. The Sag Harbor walk will commence after the tribute with “Honor Our Heroes,” which will feature Chris Carney, an East Hampton resident who took part in the inaugural cross country Soldier Ride in 2004, and the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines riding down Main Street and over the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge leading the beginning of the Sag Harbor leg of the event.

Participants can choose to just be a part of the Sag Harbor walk or can ride in the 28-mile cycling event that will loop riders from the Amagansett American Legion through Sag Harbor and back to Amagansett. A 65-mile event will have cyclists start in Amagansett bring them through Sag Harbor and end at the Montauk Lighthouse, a Soldier Ride tradition since that first cross country ride began there in 2004. The following year, the cross-country cycle ended there as well.

Haerter’s mother, JoAnn Lyles, who along with Jordan’s father, Christian Haerter, have sponsored a team in their son’s name, remembers Carney’s inaugural trek – the first of what has become many Soldier Ride events nationwide. She said on Tuesday it was not until last year, when the organization honored Jordan’s sacrifice, that she became involved in the group.

Lance Corporal Haerter, a 2006 graduate of Pierson High School, was killed outside the city of Ramadhi in April of 2008. The 19-year-old U.S. Marine had just reached the one-month mark in his first tour of duty in Iraq when a suicide bomber drove into a checkpoint he was guarding, detonating the vehicle. The actions and sacrifice of Lance Corporal Haerter and Corporal Jonathan Yale of Virginia, both of whom died trying to stop the suicide bomber, saved the lives of over 50 marines and members of the Iraqi police force, according to military reports.

Lance Corporal Haerter has posthumously received the highest of military honors, including the Navy Cross Medal and the Purple Heart Medal. 

Since his death, the Sag Harbor/North Haven Bridge was renamed in his honor, and his father has begun Jordan’s Initiative, a memorial fund to supply deployed troops and returning servicemen and women resources.

For Lyles, getting involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and Soldier Ride is something she feels she can do to give back in a meaningful way, but acknowledged being a part of the organization has also helped her.

“I think I can offer them a lot in terms of being a local, but this also does so much for me,” she said on Tuesday. “It feels good to be proactive and doing proactive things to help such an important cause.”

Reg Cornelia is one of several Solider Ride coordinators who has ensured the project’s success over the last five years. Stephen Talkhouse owner Peter Honerkamp helped conceive the idea with Carney taking on the roll of cross country bike rider for two summers, raising thousands for the Wounded Warrior Project and beginning Soldier Ride, which now has events across the country.

On Tuesday, Cornelia said once the group heard about Jordan’s death in Iraq, they felt it was appropriate to honor the Sag Harbor native in any way they could.

“That is what this program is about, recognizing and appreciating what these guys are doing,” said Cornelia.

Lyles has sponsored “Team Jordan” for the second year in a row and already has 29 members competing in Jordan’s name. Another team will also be made up of over two-dozen marines flying in from Iraq, some who served with Jordan, said Lyles. A flyover, the Patriot Guard lining the Lance Corporal Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, and the “Honor our Heroes” lap will also be a part of the tribute to Jordan. This year Lyles said she looks forward to being able to talk with marines and servicemen and women who participate in this year’s event.

“It will definitely be an emotional time, but a good time,” she said. “Last year, it was still too fresh and I met a lot of these people, but I was not able to talk to them as much as I would have liked. This year, I want to talk to them more.”

Riders and walkers interested in signing up to participate in Soldier Ride on July 25 can register online at http://soldierride.kintera.org/faf/home. The site is also available for those who wish to donate to the organization. Early registration will be held on July 18 and July 19 at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett and at the Windmill on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 267-3142.