Wounded veterans riding 450 miles


A large group of Wounded Veterans are riding more than four hundred miles, all on bikes, across the Gulf Coast. It’s all part of non-profit organization Project Hero, which benefits veterans and first responders who are injured.
His time serving our country may have cost Stefan Leroy his legs, but not his ability to move forward. “I stepped on an IED when I was carrying my buddy, who also stepped on an IED, to a helicopter.”
Leroy was one of the 150 wounded veterans making a stop at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport on a 450 mile bike tour across the Coast. “Riding is a way for me to overcome my disability and for all the people around me it’s a way to overcome their disability as well.”
Starting from Tallahassee, Florida all the way to New Orleans, the group of riders took a rest break in Gulfport to mingle and meet retired vets. The ride celebrates the tenth anniversary of Project Hero, a non-profit that benefits veterans and first responders who are injured, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injury. “When I first got out of the Navy, I didn’t really know where I fit in society and that causes veterans like us to go through anxiety and depression. It kind of helped me not to become a statistic, but be able to overcome all those things and really give back.”
These heroes have been riding for five days now. “Probably one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. While I was active duty, I was military police. Being a part of Project Hero, I really look forward to coming here and being a mentor and being a part of the team again.”
These riders are on the road to recovery and on the journey to overcome. “Continue to inspire and continue to push forward and say ‘hey, whatever our own personal obstacle is, I can push farther and overcome it.”

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Gina Tomlinson could not be happier to sink her feet into the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast. Gina graduated from Central Michigan University where she reported for the student-operated sports show and award winning news station. During her time at CMU, she majored in broadcasting arts and has a double minor in journalism and sports management. Gina interned at WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids. She fell even more in love with her passion for broadcasting while obtaining skills and techniques she now utilizes at WXXV. When she’s not at work, Gina likes to do yoga, volunteer, rock climb, dance, swim, bike, run, eat ice cream, read, wakeboard, kayak, hike and explore the Gulf Coast. To Gina, life is an adventure and she is overjoyed to be starting her career at News 25.