Tampa, FL (PRWEB) March 17, 2014
Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Air Force commandos rely on sophisticated, and sometimes classified, air, ground and water craft as they carry out dangerous missions around the globe.
This summer, wounded U.S. Special Operations personnel will take the controls of a very different - and public - type of transportation as they join together on a cross-country motor scooter ride to benefit a charity that serves their elite community.
Created in 1980, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides college scholarship funds to the children of U.S. Special Operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty; and overnight financial stipends to wounded and hospitalized special operators.
The SOWF also offers academic, family and grief counseling to surviving spouses and children of fallen special operators.
One of the riders, retired Sgt. Maj. David Neumer of Knoxville, TN, is familiar with the SOWF.
In 2009, Neumer, now 51, was a Green Beret serving with the Army’s 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) when a mortar round landed five feet away from him and exploded.
Shortly after he was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, the SOWF sent Neumer a check to offset some of his family’s immediate expenses.
“My wife and I will always be grateful for the foundation’s help at a time we really needed it,” he said.
One of the founders of Project Road Warrior is Air Force Maj. Craig Anders, a program manager with the U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition, based in Tampa.
The Care Coalition assists Special Operations Forces personnel, including those undergoing medical retirement due to line-of-duty injuries, with the transition to civilian life.
His Project Road Warrior co-founders are two good friends: Orlando Acosta, a fellow USAF Academy graduate and special operations air battle manager who has flown combat missions in Afghanistan and retired last year; and Stephen Berger, an Air Force Academy graduate and a C-130 special operations pilot who is now a vice president of operations for Motor Trend Auto Shows.
The Road Warrior Ride “is to raise awareness and resources for the Care Coalition and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, in addition to showcasing the talent, mental toughness and resiliency of these fine Americans on a national stage.”
When approached by Anders about the ride, Neumer immediately wanted in. The idea of scooters, he said, amazed him.
Another warrior eager to join the ride team is 29-year-old Kendell Madden.
A resident of the Denver suburb of Englewood, CO, Madden was assigned to the Air Force 17th Special Operations Squadron in Okinawa, Japan in late 2004. Just a few months later, Madden, a loadmaster on a MC-130 Combat Shadow, was hurt in an aircraft mishap.
“I slammed into the ceiling and smashed back to the cargo floor,” he said.
Madden suffers from a brain injury that affects his speech; has seizures, and endures episodes of memory loss. He credits his wife, Jessica, for her patience as she helps him with his recovery.
Despite the ongoing challenges he’s facing – or perhaps because of them – Madden is ready for a summertime fundraising road trip.
“I’ve been riding motorcycles for years and years,” he said. “Taking a scooter across the country is going to make this an exciting journey.”
David Neumer agrees.
“I thought, ‘This is crazy. This is great’,” he said.
“It’s so off the charts, I had to do it.”