Soldier ride departs Miami next Thursday bound for Key West
Last month, television and radio stations flooded the air with stories of surprise reunions amongst military families just in time for the holidays.
For those not welcoming home a child, parent or spouse from overseas, residents and visitors of the Florida Keys will have the opportunity to show their appreciation next week.
The Wounded Warrior Project, along with presenting sponsors Geico and UHaul, will welcome dozens of wounded men and women to sunny South Florida and the Florida Keys for the annual Soldier Ride as several community events along the way.
The entourage will depart South Beach on Thursday, Jan. 12 bound for the Miami VA with an opportunity to meet the warriors at 7 pm that evening at Finnegans on the River. On Friday morning, the ride will depart the American Legion in Key Largo and progress southwest through Islamorada for a scheduled stop over and swim at Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. All veterans are invited to the facility and will be admitted for free.
The Marathon Fire Station will be the next staging area Friday afternoon for the soldiers to ride across the 7 Mile Bridge before continuing on to Sunset Pier in Key West Friday evening.
On Saturday morning, USCG Sector Key West will host a ceremony before First State Bank of the Florida Keys invites everyone in Key West to join along the final, 6-mile leg of the ride begins at 1 pm. A special red, white and blue “Key West Ride” with the veterans visiting various historic military sites around town and ending at Mallory Square at 2:30 pm. The community’s encouraged to show its support by welcoming veterans at they arrive along the bike path.
“As a veteran I understand the price all service members pay for our freedom but those wounded in combat deserve all of our appreciation and admiration,” said First State Bank Vice President Don Lanman.
Interested riders can visit www.soldierride.org to pre-register under the Key West Ride and receive a WWP t-shirt or register the day of the ride at the Truman Waterfront. Riders are encouraged to decorate their bikes in red, white and blue.
On Sunday, Jan. 8, the Monroe County Veterans Council will host a fundraising event with music, food, raffles, auctions and plenty of fun for all at Roco’s Dockside in Marathon from 3-7 pm.