The Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride is returning to the Hamptons on Saturday, July 18. With an annual gathering of more than 500 participants including soldiers, volunteers and community members, Soldier Ride will continue its fundraising efforts on the South Fork.
Five former Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were wounded during their military service will be partaking in this summer’s event. Soldier Ride will bring the Israeli participants Itzik Gabai, Shmuel Desalei Mashasha, David Peretz, Yuval Carmel and Dan Ganot, and their trainer, Yosef Ariav, together with U.S. veterans in Manhattan and on Long Island, made possible with the help of the Friends of the IDF.
Peter Honerkamp, an owner of The Stephen Talkhouse and original supporter of the Soldier Ride, said, “Soldier Ride empowers the wounded soldiers. Rather than being stuck in the hospital attended by nurses and doctors, and receiving treatments and medications and trapped in bed, they are getting on a bike and feeling the strength and power of making the ride.”
Soldier Ride began 11 years ago when Chris Carney, a bartender at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, took a cross country bike ride in 2004 to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Again in 2005, Carney took another cross country ride but was joined by two wounded soldiers, SSG Heath Calhoun and SSG Ryan Kelly. Their journey was documented in a film, Welcome To Soldier Ride, that will be shown in Amagansett Square at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17, the night before Saturday’s bike ride. The free screening will be open to the public and will offer a unique opportunity to see all of the soldiers as well as learn more about the remarkable journey that started it all off.
Soldier Ride the Hamptons will be dedicated to Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter of Sag Harbor, a Marine who, at the age of 19, was killed in action on April 22, 2008, in Ramadi, Iraq. Haerter’s actions the day he lost his life, with the assistance of his fallen comrade Corporal Jonathan T. Yale, saved the lives of more than 33 Marines and Iraqi policeman. Servicemen and community will gather for a tribute to Haerter at 10:30 a.m the day of Soldier Ride.
Honerkamp reflected on the importance of the upcoming event. “The soldiers who sacrificed a large part of their lives for their country get to join with the communities and neighborhoods and people who they fought for,” he said. “It reminds a soldier what they sacrificed so much for.”
A participation fee of $60 will be collected from those who sign up for both the 30- and 60-mile bike ride. A fee of $35 will be collected from those who are ages 12 and under. Donations are always welcome. Honerkamp said, “The donations are going to a great cause—returning help to those who helped the country.” To register for the Soldier Ride, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
The bike route will start at Amagansett Farm on Montauk Highway. Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. and Soldier Ride will start at 8:45 a.m. Individuals are invited to show up to support the men and women who will be participating and even to participate themselves. “We’re asking people to, hopefully, come out and support,” Honerkamp said. “It would be so great if the community turned out, even if they didn’t have time to bike. If they could stand along the route and wave miniature American flags or cheer would be great. It’s all to raise honor and awareness for servicemen and -women.
“Everyone is welcome to come out.”