VIP Warrior Briefing for October 2016
Contributing Writers: Adam Allen and Karla Malone
Annual Withlacoochee Bike Ride 1 October 2016
VIP Warriors Karla Malone, Laura Hovan and Michael Ploch participating in the annual ride on the Withlacoochee trail. It was a fabulous event and well supported.
Pink Pumpkin Pedal Off for Breast Cancer, 1 October 2016
Gainesville hills are bigger than San Antonio! Christopher Hill (aka Red Beard) was VIP Warrior Team Captain and along with Scott Gill, Adam Allen, Andy Bernt and Stephen Bush participated in this worthy cause to support Breast Cancer. Christopher was well prepared with his backpack full of tools, water, nutrition and an extra tire for Andy. At one point Scott, Adam and Andy split to complete the 54 mile route, while Red Beard and Stephen completed the 40 mile route. Dispute a bike malfunction and MacGyver type repairs you all did a fantastic job. The routes were well marked, with big signs about 3 feet high. Plenty of rest stops with bathroom, food, water, and Gatorade. The SAG vehicles were plenty and well visible. The turnout was awesome with many showing up for day of registration which held up the start by about 20 minutes. Kudos to you all, that was a tough route with all those hills. Thank you to the Race Directors for your support of our wounded veterans.
Lycra and Lace Triathlon, 8 October 2016
VIP Warrior female athletes participated in the best women’s only triathlon in the Florida, while our male athletes transformed into cabana boys attending to our female athletes’ needs for water, food, body marking, finish line assistance and awards.
Although Hurricane Matthew cancelled the previous day’s events, Sunday the sun came out and riders converged on Mt. Dora to ride the beautiful central Florida towns. Another well ran event. Adam Allen and Stephen Bush were the only low riders attending this event. The routes were well marked and were explained in detail prior to the start of the ride. The ride leaders were clearly identified with special helmets assigned to each group. The phone number for command and control was on the riders’ wrist bands. There were several SAG vehicles and the rest stops were well stocked. Their group had 2 or 3 ride leaders and one stayed with the Adam and Stephen the entire route, their personal tour guide. One of the command and control trucks stayed behind them for about the first 45 miles. Everyone took great care of our VIP Warrior riders. Thank you to Tracy Draper for another great events and taking superior care of our Warrior Athletes.
Marine Corp Half Marathon and Freedom 5K, 15 October 2016
Even Hurricane Matthew could not stop the Marines from their Mission. Although it was scheduled for 9 October, Hurricane Matthew blasted through Jacksonville and the event was cancelled. However, as in our strong Military style, the Marines quickly re-evaluated the situation and rallied together to reschedule the event for the following weekend. Though they had to develop an alternate race route, they did an outstanding job. Everything from the registration to the finish line were an exemplary example of not letting anything stop the mission. Mission accomplished and Bravo Zulu. Jenna Malone, Karla Malone and Allison Malone completed the Freedom 5K.
East Lake Fire Rescue 5K, 22 October 2016
Andy Bernt participated in the 5K in East Lake on 22 October. Andy was a firefighter in the US Air Force and at MacDill following his military career. Andy is paralyzed from a rare stage 4 cancer. He participated in this event in his wheelchair. He took 2nd place in the public safety category with an outstanding time of 30 minutes for the 3.1 miles. He placed 117 overall out of 350 athletes who participated in this worthy cause.
Intercoastal Waterways Century, 30 October 2016
VIP Warriors, RESCUE22 and W4L joined forces and participated in the Intercoastal Waterways Century Ride. It was an extremely windy ride with headwinds starting at the 60 miles mark. Yet these warriors rode on to complete the ride. Andy Bernt completed his first century, on his handcycle, at this event. Well done Team.
As I, Adam Allen, reflect back on the 28th Intracoastal Waterway Century in Cocoa Beach. I am thinking about my brothers and sisters from VIP Warriors and the other veteran teams there that were meeting goals that we never thought would be possible after our lives changed. I am reminded of a story that really helped me after my injury. It was about a battle back around 1200-1000 BC. The tribe of Benjamin was preparing for this battle. Some of the soldiers they picked from their army were 700 left handed men, now they did not pick these men because they were born left handed and thought they would give them an advantage . They choose these men because they were right handed at birth, but in a battle somewhere they lost the use of there right hand or lost the hand or arm all together. These men could have left the military, because in those days you were given the choice to go or stay, nowadays not many get that choice, but these guys decided to not only stay, but become better with their left hand, than they ever where with their right hand. So these soldiers learned how to overcome the handicap they were dealt, and did indeed become better than before.
I relate to this story, because I was right handed before my injury and had to learn how to do everything new with my left hand, so when I look at my team mates with all different types of disabilities that have been dealt a hand in life that they didn’t ask for, but we have decided that we are going to be better with the our new situations than we ever were before, that inspires me to do better myself. This ride was such good therapy for us and lets us achieve some goals we were reaching for. Now on to new and bigger goals next month and into 2017.
THANK YOU VIP WARRIORS FOR AN OUTSTANDING OCTOBER 2016. Thank you to all our volunteers that make these events possible for our veterans.
VIP Warriors looks forward to more events in November and December 2016 to finish our first year strong. We encourage more of our wounded veteran community to participate with the team. Contact Karla Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org.