PHOENIX (KSAZ) - "Gone full circle... I started out on a soldier ride and now I get to help warriors through their journey using soldier ride," David Griego said.
It was the very first thing veteran David Griego did after getting out of the hospital following a traumatic injury in Afghanistan.
Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Rides are held across the country. The multi-day bicycling program aims to introduce a new element to warriors' routines, while pushing themselves physically and mentally.
It also provides a much needed outlet.
"Getting on a bike was kind of freeing and WW project provided that,"Griego said. "Not only did they provide an opportunity to go riding, but other like veterans that understood what we all go through."
After participants register online, they get fitted for a bike customized to their individual needs. This is a process David says can get emotional.
"Our bike tech does a really good job of making them feel comfortable by letting them try out different bikes, talking to them about it, letting them ride around this area to get comfortable, and then to see them to go from sorta nervous to the time they leave here Saturday a.m., they're on a super high going home saying, 'I completed this. I rode a bike,'" he said.
Bike technician Jeremy served in the military for 11 years and says that as much as he helps other veterans, they help him as well.
He adds that even though the ride totals around 40 miles, the relationships built last much longer.
"Civilian life feels mundane a lot of times to veterans, so for us it's huge we get to impact lives of people we used to stand next to on the line, so it definitely feels refreshing after every event we have," he said.