As the Ride 2 Recovery continues on their journey to the Pentagon - we got an update on their progress from Mike McNaughton.
Mike is the Vice President of Veteran Affairs for the Ride 2 Recovery and is also a Veteran. He lost his leg when a land mine exploded during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Here is a little about his life journey...
Originally from New York State, Mike enlisted in the Army at 18. He served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bosnia before leaving the Army in 2000 for a civilian job with an engineering company. Then came 9/11, and he reconsidered his decision to leave the service.
“Being from New York, with a sister in Manhattan and a brother-in-law working across the street from the World Trade Center when it collapsed, I felt like I’d let down my family and the Army,” he remembers. He joined the Louisiana National Guard in December, 2001 and four months later was called up with the 769th Engineer Battalion and sent to Afghanistan.
Within seven months, his teams had cleared 150,000 anti-personnel mines and 47 anti-tank mines, and Mike was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions.
On January 17, just eight days after the explosion that took most of his right leg and two fingers, President George W. Bush stopped to talk to Mike on a visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. During their conversations, one topic of common interest was running. Bush wished McNaughton a speedy recover and told the soldier that when he felt up to it, to “give him a call and we’ll go running.”
Mike required eighteen separate surgeries to repair damage and fit his new robotic prosthesis to help him walk. The physical therapy took months as well as dealing with the depression and despondency that comes along with such a serious injury.
In spring 2004, he took the President up on his offer and ran a mile with him. “I want you to know,” the President said afterward, “just how proud I am of you.” Mike was floored. The Commander in Chief is proud of me? Me? He began training for a marathon. It wasn’t easy. He fell. He got hurt. On Jan. 9, 2005 — two years to the day he lost his leg — he ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.
Once again a civilian, Mike worked as a liaison to the state of Louisiana helping coordinate emergency response during the hurricane season including on-the-ground work during Hurricane Katrina.
In May of 2008, McNaughton and his wife, Kim, joined the Road 2 Recovery on its inaugural ride from Washington, .DC. to the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event. The six-day, 480-mile ride was an uplifting experience that he was able to share with them.
Mike most recently worked for the VA in Louisiana, but joined Ride 2 Recovery in January 2011 as the first Vice President of Veterans Assistance. In this role, he coordinates all activities with all four branches of the military helping other wounded veterans participate in Ride 2 Recovery programs so they too can experience the challenge and accomplishment that Mike and so many others have done.
Below is the map of Ride 2 Recovery's journey on Tuesday
Click HERE to get a day by day route of the Ride 2 Recovery
Still left on the journey...
Tuesday, Sept 13 - Philadelphia to Lancaster
Wednesday, Sept 14 - Lancaster to Gettysburg
Thursday, Sept 15 - Gettysburg to Bedford
Friday, Sept 16 - Bedford to Cumberland
Saturday, Sept 17 - Cumberland to Winchester
Sunday, Sep 18 - Winchester to Pentagon
If you go out and cheer them on their adventure - send us your pictures and video to uReport and we'll show them live on Happening Now!