The DRA in the News

Wounded vets get gift of mobility

Desert Riders Association and the nonprofit Incight in Palm Desert recently came together to support two local veterans who were both wounded while serving their country.

DRA approached Incight offering to support wounded veterans or first responders with a handcycle — a hand powered cycle used frequently by riders with disabilities. The cycles were distributed during a ceremony April 12 at La Quinta Park.

The first recipient was 21-year United States Army veteran Sgt. Roberto Flores who was shot severing his spinal cord while serving in Afghanistan. Returning to the United States with paraplegia, Flores, his wife and son recently relocated to the Coachella Valley where they were awarded a home by the Military 4 Wounded Heroes organization earlier this year, said Judy May, Incight regional director.

Flores recently joined Incight in its efforts to reach out to others with spinal cord injuries. He and amputee Ian Singleterry will be making home visits to offer support to local residents with spinal cord injuries and amputations, May said.

The second handcycle was awarded to Blane Pittman who was 19 when he joined the United States Marine Corps in 2004. While in Iraq the Humvee in front of his was hit by a double stacked anti-tank land mine. The impact of the blast scarred Pittman’s eyes, damaged his hearing and pelted him with shrapnel leaving him with lower limb damage.

Pittman will be graduating with honors from Missouri State University in May where he studies recreation, sports and park administration. He is currently completing his internship with the Desert Recreation District and will be training with its partner, Incight, in the adaptive sports program they created that serves children, youth and veterans with disabilities.

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/veterans/2014/05/01/wounded-vets-mobility/8586749/

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