Ride 2 Recovery is a rehabilitation program of the Fitness Challenge Foundation that features cycling as its core activity. Bikes are specially designed to suit individual needs. The 325-mile bicycle journey conditions veterans while helping them overcome the physical and mental challenges they face after returning from service.
Participants began their ride on Memorial Day in Arlington, Va., and will finish June 1 in Virginia Beach, Va., with stops along the way in Manassas, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Norfolk.
NS employees will host a rally at Harbor Park near the Norfolk Amtrak Station to support and welcome the veterans. The NS Cycling Team will ride with the veterans for a portion of their trip. NS Thoroughbred Volunteers will break from their participation in Clean the Bay Day to join the veterans as well. The NS Veterans Locomotive, a specially painted SD60E that honors the contributions of those who have served in the military and reserves (pictured, above), will be at the event, after which its horn will announce the veterans’ departure on their home stretch from Norfolk to Virginia Beach.
NS Executive Vice President Administration James A. Squires (the railroad’s incoming president), an Army veteran himself, will address the attendees and introduce guests, including a number of mayors from the Hampton Roads area.
Mark Courrier, East Coast SEAL and special warfare combatant-craft crewmen scout, said NS’s participation “is a dream come true. When the 200 cyclists arrive at the station to see the SD60E dressed in all its glory with the red, white, and blue colors, it will be a true testament that Norfolk Southern is making a difference in the lives of our wounded warriors.”
Over the past six years, Norfolk Southern has hired some 1,300 veterans. Today, 14% of the total NS workforce—more than 4,200 employees—are veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves.