In a show of indomitable human spirit, soldiers wounded in combat rode in a 25-mile New York City benefit bicycle race, which began at Macy’s in Manhattan’s Herald Square and concluded with a sweet stop at a welcome block party outside Villabate-Alba Pasticceria & Bakery in Bensonhurst – complete with a greeting from actor Matthew Modine and Sopranos’ star Tony Sirico.
The Hollywood heavyweights helped serve up a rollicking Brooklyn welcome for 30 U.S. warriors, five Israeli veterans and more than 1,500 public participants in the Wounded Warrior Project’s 2009 Soldier Ride as the convoy, chaperoned by motorcyclists from Rolling Thunder 2 NY, pulled up outside the confectionary, 7117 18th Avenue, which co-sponsored the “Escort of Heroes to the Finish Line” with the Brooklyn Key Chapter of Ex-Prisoners of War.
The annual fundraiser raises public awareness for the Wounded Warrior program, which provides rehabilitative cycling opportunities for soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The annual Soldier Ride was the brainchild of Long Island patriot Chris Carney, who completed his first coast-to-coast ride in 2004. In 2007, the race switched to a regional format with seven regional rides across the nation, increasing the opportunity for local participation and allowing the general public a chance to ride with wounded veterans and raise money for their treatment and healing.