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Hudson -- More than $3,800 was raised Aug. 17 to help bring awareness to the suicide rate among current and former military members.
About 26 riders/walkers took part in the Ohio leg of the Ride for 23, sponsored by Wheels4Change. The remembrance ride took place at eight locations across the country, with Hudson's LifeCenter Plus, 5133 Darrow Road, taking lead as the national spearhead.
About 47 people took part nationally, according to Cassie Schumacher, founder of Wheels4Change. The event was a 23-mile bike ride or a 2.3-mile walk to help raise awareness about the rate of military suicides. The numbers represented one mile for each of the 22 vets and 1 active duty service member that commit suicide every day, according to statistics.
Schumacher described the event as "excellent."
"We educated several people who had no idea that military suicide was such a huge problem and everyone that showed up was very dedicated to furthering our cause and helping to raise awareness," she said. "The ride, in Hudson, utilized our beautiful hike and bike trail system."
Schumacher hopes the event, which will become annual, grows in numbers in each year.
"Ride for the 23 bike/walk event honors the military personnel whom have lost their lives and supports local veterans programs while engaging in physical activity," Schumacher said. "Ohio veterans have given so much for us. This is an opportunity to help local veterans and support their efforts to transition back into the community."
Participants paid a $23 entry fee, with the money going toward helping local veterans successfully re-integrate into their communities and provide military families with resources to address post-war problems.
Wheels4Change is headquartered in Northeast Ohio and is dedicated to helping veterans and serving military families. The group sponsors an annual indoor Pedal For Heroes event the last Sunday in February, which honors the men and women who gave their lives in service. The organization also offers bicycle programs for veterans and supports healing efforts for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder at the Red Bird Trauma Recovery Center in Cambridge.
"I have gotten several positive verbal comments as well as constructive ideas on how to grow the event," Schumacher said. "This, to me, means that the people who came are interested in helping to get more people out."
For more information about Wheels4Change visit the website