PHOENIX – A successful, two-day desert ride was capped by a 1945-themed fundraising gala at the U-Haul-owned Harold Price Sr. House in Paradise Valley in honor of the 70th year anniversary of U-Haul, a company founded by a WWII Navy Veteran and his wife. This year also marked the company’s 10th year supporting Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride as the Founding Partner.
The Soldier Ride gala is an evening not only to celebrate the end of a successful and empowering two day ride but also to celebrate and thank the warriors who have given so much for our country.
Nineteen Team U-Haul riders, through months of fundraising and with the aid of fellow Team Members contributing at the Nov. 20 kickoff breakfast outside the U-Haul corporate towers, raised over $60,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project for this year’s event. That includes a U-Haul Company match of approximately $30,000.
The fundraising effort was an important footnote to the event, but certainly not the story. More than 50 Warriors and support riders joined Team U-Haul on a 20-mile trek through Phoenix on Nov. 20 and a 20-mile trek through Cave Creek on Nov. 21. The ride presented Warriors with an opportunity to meet new brothers-in-arms, accomplish new goals and overcome mental, physical and emotional obstacles along the way amid the beautiful backdrop of a place like Arizona.
The Soldier Ride season concluded with its final three cycling events of the year in San Antonio, Wounded Warrior Project’s home base of Jacksonville, and Phoenix, where U-Haul is headquartered.
“This is unbelievable,” Dan Schnock, director of Soldier Ride, noted at the gala. “Not only did we have incident-free riding, but the Warriors had such a great time. I’m so proud of them for what they did.
U-Haul Team Members feel the same way about the Warriors and all of our veterans.
“Along with the entire team, it’s been our absolute honor hosting WWP Soldier Ride this year” Zofia Sells, U-Haul community relations specialist, told the Warriors and Team U-Haul. “It has been an honor getting to meet all of you over the past few days. I am humbled and blessed to be in your presence. Thank you for making the past few days an awesome experience! Please understand that tonight is all about you, and you deserve this!”
Schnock said the U-Haul-hosted Phoenix ride remains one of the most popular on the Soldier Ride calendar, and this year’s event was the ideal way to cap another successful year of service for Wounded Warrior Project.
“I had two or three Warriors come up to me tonight and say, ‘I just want to thank you for letting me be here.’ And I said, ‘Remember, you’re thanking U-Haul as well because they’re putting all this on for us.’ And they absolutely love the fact that they got to be here and really were inspired by the community U-Haul has built. I had one that got very emotional because she felt like this event changed her life. And I mean it. That’s the impact I talk about.”
Click here to read more about Soldier Ride Phoenix 2015.