Helping Veterans Address Post-War Barriers to Success
Why We Created Pedal for Heroes USA
In the summer of 2011, we attempted to find a veterans organization that promoted fitness to benefit veterans locally. We found many great national veterans organizations, but none of them focused specifically on helping veterans become fit in their local communities. We saw this as an opportunity to support local veterans and educate the civilian population about the needs of our veterans, as well as support the families of the fallen.
We wanted to promote physical activity challenges with a purpose. We believe more needs to be done to engage veterans and to remember, and honor, those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Our first annual Pedal for Heroes benefit event was held in February 2012 on the 26th, the date that Andy Nowacki, an Ohio Marine was killed in action in Iraq in 2005. We raised more than $16,000 for local veterans’ charitable organizations with civilians, veterans, and veterans’ families participating at 11 local gyms around NE Ohio.
Pioneers in Endurance Events
There is a long history of military personnel outside of active duty challenging themselves in endurance events. In 1978, Navy commander John Collins created the Hawaii Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run). He raced against fellow military personnel in the first Ironman competition to determine the fittest of his comrades.
In 1948, two decades after the Appalachian Trail was conceived, World War II veteran Earl Shaffer became the first person to attempt, and complete, the over 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail with “his Army rucksack from Georgia to Maine.”
These military men were pioneers in ultra-endurance events, setting a high bar for both military and non-military citizens to push beyond the perceived limits of human ability.
Purpose of Our Organization and How Our Work Will Achieve Our Mission:
Pedal For Heroes USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates events to support LOCAL nonprofit organizations to support veterans. We strive to create a positive impact and improve the lives of our veterans. We will strive to bridge the gap in services that are not being provided currently. Our events both educate the community and support veterans as they transition to veteran elders within our community. We believe by focusing on LOCAL change we will make a national impact. Our goal is to help veterans address their post-war barriers to success.