By: Will Schroeder, NWLB Director
Thank you to the riders, officers, veterans, sponsors and volunteers who came together to make the inaugural event possible.
When is the last time that you touched someone in a uniform? Did you shake a police officer’s hand? How about an Army nurse in the Metro station? Did you really connect on Veteran’s Day?
Maybe your uncle serves in the military. Maybe your sister is an EMT. If so, you understand that police officers, firefighters and veterans are family and you can hug them. Perhaps, your neighbor serves at the Navy Yard or works at the Pentagon. As you go about your routine, do you just smile and wave as you go by?
Today, please ask yourself: when is the last time that you really looked beyond the uniform, the badge, or the injury to understand better the courage it takes to serve your country, your community.
No Warrior Left Behind, Inc. (“NWLB”) is a new non-profit organization in Montgomery County composed of veterans, police and fire fighters, nurses and “civilians” who want to help serve wounded warriors and injured first responders. NWLB wants to start a conversation and make more meaningful connections. Officer Aaron Bailey is a Montgomery County police officer and founder of NWLB. His goal is to bring first responders and military service men and women together with a common cause of improving the lives of wounded veterans.
On November 7, 2015, NWLB launched its first annual 20K ride for wounded veterans and community volunteers in conjunction with the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County (CVC) and its Workforce For Good Service Project Leaders, the law firm of Shulman Rogers and the accountants at DeLeon & Stang. The motto for the day was “A race for warriors, a ride for everyone”.
My ten year-old daughter volunteered at the ride. She met a lot of veterans, including Omar Duran. Omar Duran is the President of NWLB and he was wounded physically and mentally while serving in Afghanistan. When he approaches you in his wheelchair, the first thing you notice is Omar’s smile. My daughter was really shy at first, but Omar made her smile too. I don’t think she had ever been so close to a wounded veteran before. She enjoyed helping the ride be so successful. Standing in the rain on the last lap, we cheered Omar and the other veterans and riders as they passed along Park Potomac Avenue. We talked and celebrated the ride with Omar, Officer Aaron Bailey and others at Wine Harvest afterward.
What did you do to celebrate Veteran’s Day? Next year, please come ride with veterans.
Watch Washington NBC Channel 4 Coverage of the ride!