As the popularity of Soldier Ride has grown, so has the need for more events. The Wounded Warrior Project® recently added 12 rides across the country, including first-time stops in Dallas and Philadelphia.
U-Haul, a founding sponsor of Soldier Ride®, has utilized these events as an opportunity for its Team Members to give back to the U.S. veterans who have served courageously in our defense.
“Letting them know they matter is very fulfilling,” said Garner Carey, U-Haul Company of Northwest Dallas president.
U-Haul welcomed Soldier Ride participants in Philadelphia (Aug. 13-15) and Dallas (Sept. 10-13) as Team Members had lunch with the Warriors and handed out “swag bags” with U-Haul items such as baseball caps, pens and water mugs.
Team Members in both locations noted that it was a pleasure to host Soldier Ride events and to see how U-Haul serves the organization and its veterans.
Keely Richardson, traffic control manager at U-Haul Company of Northwest Dallas, said she was thrilled to meet the Warriors and speak to them on individual and business topics. She added that listening to their stories was an eye-opening experience and a reality jolt.
Dallas area field managers Ryan Carle and Robert Jones experienced even deeper connections to the Soldier Ride participants as U.S. military veterans themselves.
“I always enjoy the camaraderie, and this was the first exposure I’ve had with Wounded Warrior and it seems like a great organization,” Carle said. “I was struck by the level of sacrifice that the riders have given and by the great support that Wounded Warrior has for them. You rarely see that level of well organized events and sincere action for the people who have put everything on the line.”
Dominic Catalano, U-Haul Company of Philadelphia president, remarked that having Soldier Ride come to the City of Brotherly Love “opened my eyes to what they do and what they went through and how they protect us.”
Dan DiBuo, executive assistant at U-Haul Company of Philadelphia, added that the interaction between the Team Members and the Warriors couldn’t have been better. “We wanted to shine since it was our first time doing this. Everyone was on board and our interaction couldn’t have been better,” DiBuo said.
DiBuo worried that since it was a new event for the U-Haul Team Members in Philly, they might huddle and keep to themselves. He was pleased to see them scatter to different tables and talk to the Warriors about their experiences while thanking them for their service.
Some of the U-Haul Team Members also biked the events and saw how the Warriors overcame any physical challenges firsthand. This interaction helped the Warriors and Team Members to feel like family.
“They make me feel very comfortable … we just had great conversations,” said Simon Baptiste, storage manager for U-Haul Company of Philadelphia. “I’m so filled with gratitude and I have to thank all the veterans for their sacrifice for keeping us and our families safe.”
Did you know Team U-Haul has been announced for Soldier Ride Phoenix? Click here to learn more about the event in U-Haul Company’s hometown and how you can help.