PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Injured veterans took part in the annual Wounded Warriors "Alive Day" ride. Police escorted them on an 11-mile bike ride through Pinellas Park.
This day has a special meaning for the man who started it.
- Alive Day ride benefits Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch
- Veteran was paralyzed while in Iraq in 2006
- Ranch has helped 1,600 veterans since opening
Being alive is a gift for Michael Delancey and one he isn’t wasting.
"I deployed twice. On the second deployment, I was on a dismounted foot patrol in Iraq and I was shot by a sniper. That rendered me paralyzed," Delancey said.
That happened on September 1, 2006.
In the years since, Delancey remembers the day as his "Alive Day." He commemorates it by hosting the annual bike ride and walk for injured veterans, through his organization, the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch.
He joins right along in a handcycle.
"One of our main goals is to get vets out and active," Delancey said. "Show them there’s sports, recreation and to get out of the house. We want them enjoy the brotherhood and see all of the support they have."
The bike ride helps those from all walks of life.
Among those participating was Monica Quimby, who was paralyzed in a collegiate ski accident.
Her husband is a military veteran and this is something that they can both do together.
"Being in the handcycles, right along those in a regular bike, I think that is so important to do it all together. No matter how you do it, you’ll both cross the finish line together," Quimby said.
The Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch opened in Pinellas Park in 2013 and has helped more than 1,600 veterans. It's a place where injured veterans can receive support and training to be active.
Seeing the turnout has Delancey wanting to grow that cause even more.
"It gives me a light to what we’ve been doing. And it makes me want to strive to do even more," Delancey said.