My Name is Colin Thomas and I am riding In Ride Allegheny to support a great organization called Operation Second Chance. Ride Allegheny is a 4 day Ride from Pittsburgh to the Washing DC area on the GAP and C&O Canal. We ride to support a charity called Operation Second Chance that helps injured Soldiers and Marines transition back to Active Duty and or Civilian Life.
I choose to do this ride and support Operation Second Chance for a couple of Reasons. One, I was fat and I needed to get back in shape. Two, was watching my father suffer from PTSD with no support growing up and an incident that happened about 10 years ago.
My father by this time had finally received help for his PTSD from Vietnam and we were out to lunch. Our Waiter, a Marine recently out of active duty and multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was obviously struggling with something. He was sweating, twitchy, and irritable, My Dad knew almost immediately what was wrong and had a conversation with the young Marine. It started off by my father just stating bluntly, as Marines do, I know what you are going through as I am a marine and would like to have a quick conversation. The young Marine sat down with my dad and they proceeded to talk and identify how others just to not understand. My father then said that it will get better and there is support out there. My father gave him his number and said that he is there if he ever wants to talk and you could see the relief and understanding that took place between the two. The ability to have a discussion with someone that understood and said I am here to help. This had a profound impact on me.
I knew at that moment that I would never understand the experience that they two of them had gone through and how awkward I felt in not understanding. I understood as a family member of someone going through PTSD for a long time but I felt there was nothing that I could do.
Well, Many years later I found Ride Allegheny and told myself that this is something that I can do to help those in transition. As a civilian I feel it is my duty to help those that go in harm's way get back to themselves, although always different, so I ask all of you to join me in this ride!!!! You can Join my team, Ride individually, or just contribute and we can help support those in need and make sure more conversations happen like I witnessed with my dad. I look forward to riding with you or appreciate anything that you can donate. Godspeed! and thank you to all that have served in any capacity.