by Chief Warrant Officer Todd Kagarise
Not a single day passed during her 62-day bicycle ride across America when Chief Petty Officer Sabrina Hearst didn’t think to herself, “Just one more mile.”
But her thoughts were not for her own self-motivation as she endured weeks of 100-plus degree temperatures, frequent muscle pain and fatigue. Her thoughts were for her teammates, the 17 disabled veterans and able-bodied riders who became her extended family during the two months they spent together on the asphalt.
She joined veterans like 63-year old Bill Czyzewski, who lost his leg in 1970 while serving with the Army in the Vietnam War. He completed the entire trip on a hand cycle; a far more challenging mode of transportation than a bicycle. Also on the ride was Army Capt. Ivan Castro who sustained life-threatening injuries, including the loss of his eyesight, during a mortar attack in Iraq in 2006. Castro is one of three blind officers currently serving in the Army and the only blind officer serving with the Army’s Special Forces. He completed the ride on a tandem bicycle piloted by another rider.
As a member of the World T.E.A.M. Sports Sea to Shining Sea Ride Across America, the riders began their journey in San Francisco May 28 and finished the 3,820 mile adventure in Virginia Beach, Va., July 28.
For them, one more mile meant one more small affirmation that their disabilities could not prevent them from accomplishing their goals. One more mile put them just a little closer to their ultimate goal of completing the Ride Across America and raising public awareness of the unbounded abilities of our disabled and wounded veterans.
Read the full story at the Coast Guard Compass website.