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Wounded Warriors to ride into Brunswick County

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

The Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride is gearing up to ride into Brunswick County this week.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a national nonprofit organization that aims to provide programs and services to severely injured servicemen and women.

One of the project’s many programs is its annual Soldier Ride.

“Our No. 1 goal is to raise awareness. I don’t think the average Joe knows what it’s like,” for disabled servicemen and women, organizer Debra Racine said.

Racine became involved with the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride when she married her husband Bob last year. The annual Soldier Rides have become an inspiration for Racine.

“It gives me that feeling for a week like when you go to church,” she explains. “We have nothing to do with the war. We just don’t want the people to be forgotten who have served our country."

The Soldier Ride kicks off Friday morning, with the soldiers and local participants boarding the 10 a.m. ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport. While on the ferry, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter will do a “helicopter turn,” or a 360-degree salute.

The Soldier Ride will then continue to Southport’s Waterfront Park at 11 a.m., where the Southport Fire boat will do a red, white and blue water display.

The soldier ride will then continue up N.C. 211 to Winding River.

On Saturday, the Soldier Ride takes to Oak Island for the inaugural Island Freedom Ride.

Bikers, walkers and runners are encouraged to participate. The event begins with 8 a.m. registration and kicks off at 10 a.m. with opening ceremonies at the soccer fields at Middleton Park on Oak Island.

Participants can choose a 43-mile bike, a 20-mile bike or a 5-mile walk or run. Registration is $25, and all proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project’s programs for veterans.

For more information, or to donate to the Island Freedom Ride, call 278-4612, or e-mail footsball@bellsouth.net. For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project, visit its Web site at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.