Hudson -- Organizers of an Aug. 24 bike ride, which will begin and end in Hudson, are hoping to raise awareness to the growing problem of veteran suicide.
The event, Ride For The 23, is sponsored by Pedal For Heroes USA, an organization dedicated to providing support for veterans issues and their families.
The ride's name is derived from the number of veterans, 22, and one active duty military member who reportedly commits suicide every day in America, according to Cassie Schumacher, co-founder of Pedal For Heroes USA.
On Aug. 24, riders will depart LifeCenter Plus, 5133 Darrow Road, at 9 a.m. and travel north to state Route 82. The riders will stop at Brandywine Falls for a water and snack break before heading back to Hudson. The total route is 23.3 miles.
Hudson was chosen because Schumacher, who works out at LifeCenter Plus, co-founded Pedal for Heroes with Jerry Lynch, co-owner of the center, in Hudson.
"Only 1 percent of our nation serves in the military, but every day there are 23 individuals who were veterans or in active service that take their own life," Lynch said. "We must do more to get them help. It's an atrocity that this continues to happen at a rate of almost one each hour of the day and still continues to go on relatively unnoticed."
Veterans are being sent home from combat without the needed help to transition back into society, Schumacher said.
"We think the veteran's administrations are taking care of them, but they are not," Schumacher said. "Our military deserves us to serve them."
Schumacher said that according to statistics, by the late 1980s, more than 60,000 Vietnam veterans had taken their own lives.
"And that number has increased," Schumacher said.
Schumacher is familiar with veteran issues. Her dad, a Vietnam veteran, was on the forefront of veterans issues, managing a Veteran of Foreign War post and organizing a welcome home parade form Vietnam veterans in 1988.
"A year after the parade, he just started wearing his Army jacket, bought a pair of combat boots, and just sort of snapped and walked away from a 22-year marriage, a family and career, and into a life of homeless that has lasted up until today, Schumacher said. "I don't want other families to go through what my family has gone through."
Schumacher, who rode her bicycle 3,000 miles across the county in June to help bring awareness to veterans issues, is hoping for a big turnout for the 23.3 mile ride.
Rides will also be in New York, Florida, Washington D.C., Arizona and California.
The entry fee for the ride is $23 and will be used to help bring awareness to military suicides in addition to supporting mental health programs for veterans.
One of the programs being developed are donating bikes to veterans who need transportation and another will set up a bike shop for veterans.
For more information about Ride For The 23, visit www.PedalForHeroesUSA.org or email Kayleigh Ferder at Kayleigh@PedalForHeroesUSA.org.
Pedal For Heroes is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Northeast Ohio and dedicated to helping veterans, serving military families and honoring fallen heroes. An annual indoor event takes place on the last Sunday in February to honor the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. The organization offers bicycle programs for veterans and also supports healing efforts for veterans with Posttraumatic stress disorder at the Red Bird Trauma Recovery Center in Cambridge.