CRAWFORD (CBS 11 NEWS) – On this crisp Texas morning, 16 wounded warriors, including Iraq war veteran retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Leonard gear up.
“I was injured in 2005 when a roadside bomb went off underneath my Bradley took off my right leg below the knee immediately.”
That’s not stopping him and others from taking a 30-mile ride on mountain bikes with former President George W. Bush across his vast Prairie Creek Ranch near Crawford.
This is the fourth such event, which is part of the Bush Institute’s Military Service initiative.
The even not only recognizes the warriors and the sacrifices they made for their country, but organizations that help and support veterans.
This year, the former President is highlighting Hire Heroes USA, Green Beret Foundation, and Wasatch Adaptive Sports.
Mr. Bush says journey across his ranch is one they intend to finish. “It’s only because of the inspiration I receive from the vets surrounding me.”
Vets like retired U.S. Army First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell. “How can you not just want to get out there and ride your bike.”
It was ten years ago this past April 13th while riding on a convoy through central Baghdad she says, “A roadside bomb found my Humvee and my left leg.”
Stockwell may occasionally need a little help, but she still makes it look so easy.
It’s her second time doing this event.
For these wounded warriors, it’s more than just a bike ride, it’s also a chance to spend time with their former Commander in Chief.
Stockwell says, “Any of us out here are proud to have him as our Commander In Chief. We would follow him wherever he told us to go. A lot of our lives have made a change for the better after our injury.”
Mr. Bush says, “The thing that amazes me is that rather than allowing life’s difficult circumstances to overwhelm them, they’ve turned the circumstances into good by showing courage, hard work, and sacrifices.”
“It’s just like a brotherhood”, says Leonard. “I’ve met nearly everyone here, it’s like you’ve known them forever.”
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