With more than 20 million veterans living in America today, Coast Guard members across the nation join together to honor their service. Whether attending a memorial service for a veteran who has passed or visiting local veterans’ hospitals to show gratitude, supporting veterans is a principal all servicemembers hold dear. While there are many ways to show support, one group of Coast Guardsmen took their support on the road – the road to Gettysburg, Pa. A Coast Guard cycling group, dubbed TEAM Coast Guard 1790, participated in Face of America, cycling the 110 miles from the Pentagon to historic Gettysburg. The Coast Guard joined hundreds of athletes riding in World TEAM Sports Face of America charity bicycle to raise awareness for veterans who have been disabled in service to their country. Now in its 10th year, the World TEAM Sports Face of America bicycle ride re-introduces military veterans to an active lifestyle as they recover from traumatic injuries and service-connected disabilities. TEAM Coast Guard 1790 has been riding together since 2009, and this year produced a bicycle team of 27 members, including Vice Adm. Manson Brown, deputy commandant for mission support, and two disabled Coast Guard veterans.
“The Coast Guard was proud to join America’s joint military team to honor and provide active support for the disabled veteran community in the National Capital Region and throughout the nation,” said Brown upon completion of the event. The Coast Guard engages with veterans across the nation, but Face of America is a special event in the nation’s capital.
“At every duty station where I’ve been assigned, Coast Guardsmen participate in similarly special events, supporting local veterans service organizations and volunteering with regional veterans support programs,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Shane Hooker , command master chief of Coast Guard Headquarters. “Face of America is a great opportunity for Coast Guard personnel in the Washington, D.C., area to get involved with disabled veterans in a very hands on way.” For the 2013 Face of America ride, more than 100 disabled veterans participated in the endeavor with nearly 500 riders from 39 states. Collectively, this group raised more than $300,000; not to mention the immeasurable awareness for veterans re-establishing active life-styles after having suffered a traumatic injury or service-connected disability. With Brown leading the way, TEAM Coast Guard 1790 set participation records in every category, raising the largest Coast Guard team entry to date and doing their part to raise awareness for issues facing disabled veterans. Most importantly, TEAM Coast Guard 1790 encouraged their disabled brothers and sisters in arms as they accomplished their goal to ride from the Pentagon to Gettysburg. “The needs of disabled veterans should come first in the nation’s capital, and this weekend we gave our best to make that goal a reality for these athletes,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Vanderwerf.