Lipinski Joins "Wounded Warriors" on Soldier Ride on Flag Day

On Sunday, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) joined members of the military injured in Iraq and Afghanistan for a 20-mile bicycle ride through the Third District organized by the Wounded Warrior Project.

"As a staunch supporter of our veterans and an avid cyclist, I was truly honored to be given a chance to participate in the Soldier Ride," Lipinski said. "The terrible injuries these brave men and women suffered on the battlefield clearly have not diminished their fighting spirit one iota."

The day began in Bridgeport with 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer's well-attended annual Flag Day commemoration, where worn-out flags were ceremoniously retired while local residents, veterans, police, and firefighters looked on. Congressman Lipinski spoke, expressing his gratitude to ride participants for their service.

The ride took participants across Pershing Road, down Archer Avenue and north on La Grange Road. It concluded at Sundown Meadow Park in Hodgkins with a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project held by the Chicago Firefighters Union.

"The turnout on Archer Avenue was terrific, and I know the riders deeply appreciated it," Lipinski said. "It was great to see men, women and children waving flags, showing support and acknowledging the sacrifices our troops have made."

The route was the last leg of the project's Midwest Soldier Ride, which started Thursday in Waterloo, Wisc. The Wounded Warrior Project describes the ride as "at its core, a rehabilitative cycling event designed to challenge our wounded warriors to get back in the saddle, both literally and figuratively."

Among the wounded warriors with whom Lipinski rode was Forest Park resident Melissa Stockwell. Stockwell, who lost a leg when a roadside bomb exploded beside her convoy in Iraq in 2004, competed last year in Bejing as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team.

"The obstacles that our wounded veterans face are tremendous," Lipinski said. "The Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride serves to remind us that it is our obligation to see that they receive all the support they need upon returning home."

(June 15, 2009)