Face of America, non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inclusive two-day bicycle and hand cycle ride to historic Gettysburg, returns to the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia regions this April 27-29. As one of America’s most inspiring events, participating athletes include adaptive military veterans and able-bodied athletes from across North America.
Created by World T.E.A.M. Sports as a cross-country ride in the summer of 2000, Face of America today honors adaptive military veterans who were injured or disabled during their service to their nation. In 2017, nearly 600 athletes participated on routes leading to Gettysburg from Arlington, Virginia and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Of these athletes, nearly 150 were adaptive veterans living with disabilities ranging from loss of limb to paralysis to Post-Traumatic Stress. Organizers anticipate greater numbers in 2018.
“We are expecting a record number of participants this year. We are working on improving and expanding our logistics so that we can accommodate as many athletes as we can, to further our impact with our mission. We hope to raise over $600,000 this year to support the organization and the great work that we do. Anyone who is interested is highly encouraged to join us soon before we reach capacity and sell out,” said Jon Brideau, World T.E.A.M. Sports Executive Director.
With an emphasis on supporting each athlete and building friendships that continues beyond the ride’s conclusion, Face of America is life-changing for many participants.
“It was one of the best experience I have ever had,” said one athlete. Another agreed that it is “one of the most rewarding charitable events in which I have participated.”
An adaptive military veteran said one of his favorite experiences was “riding side by side with my brothers and sisters at arms. Talking, chatting, laughing, getting to know everyone, and meeting old friends. There’s just no way to describe how awesome it feels to be surrounded with other veterans – there’s so much dedication, motivation, and character.”
Participating athletes raise funds through the ride to provide adaptive athletes with transportation, hospitality, and to support the organization overall. In 2017, nearly $600,000 was raised through participant fundraising, along with event sponsorships from corporate partners.
This weekend experience is inspiring, both for the adaptive athletes and for the able-bodied athletes. “Meeting and talking to people from all over it was just a wonderful experience,” said a caregiver for an adaptive athlete following the 2017 ride. A retired military athlete agreed. “The entire two days was spectacular as I was able to speak to adaptive riders and bond with other members.”
Recognizing that adaptive athletes can accomplish remarkable athletic challenges, World T.E.A.M. Sports has long encouraged events that combine adaptive and able-bodied athletes. Celebrating 25 years in June 2018, World T.E.A.M. Sports has created exceptional sporting events worldwide that bring together athletes, rather than keeping them apart in separate categories. These events include a world bicycle ride in 1995, two climbs of Africa’s Kilimanjaro and several cross-country bicycle rides.
The 2018 Face of America is supported through generous sponsorship and partnerships from several leading companies including Capital One Bank, American Portfolios Financial Services, Booz Allen Hamilton, Benson Botsford LLC, Penske Truck Rental and SUBWAY of the Walter Reed National Military Center. Online registration is currently open.
About World T.E.A.M. Sports: World T.E.A.M. Sports is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization chartered in North Carolina and headquartered in Holbrook, New York. Since 1993, World T.E.A.M. Sports has organized athletic events for disabled and able bodied citizens – mountain climbing, white water rafting, biking, and more. Four things always happen at our events: (1) Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness; (2) The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities; (3) The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination; and (4) The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges. World T.E.A.M. Sports changes lives through sports.