Sunshine, blue skies and a trip to promote military camaraderie and healing blended together Friday for the start of the 30-mile Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in Colorado Springs.
The gathering kicked off a two-day bicycle ride for 50 riders from as far away as Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Organizer Kajun Seilhan stressed the importance of the ride for the group.
"This is to empower our veterans and get them out and get them active and overcome some disabilities and issues they are dealing with by getting them on a bike and getting them networked with fellow veterans in the community," he said.
Seilhan, who is participating in his fourth ride, is a retired U.S. Army master sergeant with 23 years of service including time at Fort Carson. Seilhan was wounded in action with multiple injuries over eight deployments in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The ride is the culmination of WWP long-term health and wellness programs, which emphasize mental and physical fitness and help push veterans outside of their comfort zones and move forward. One of the oaths they take at the beginning of the workshop is to "let go and move on."
Seilhan said the group activity is therapeutic for emotional and physical issues,
"Dealing with it on your own doesn't work and everyone out here is dealing with similar issues," he said. "After this event is over you have established friendships and a network you can lean on for the rest of your life."