A PTSD Story: Cycling 4 Life And Never Giving Up
Meet Ret SSG Jerry Rivera!
Rivera was born in Ponce P.R. and Joined the Army in 2002 as a CH47D helicopter mechanic and served in OEF Kandahar Afghanistan on 2003. In 2005 his unit was called for Hurricane Katrina relief where he flew every day from Fort Hood TX, to Baton Rouge La for 2 weeks straight with supplies for the Hurricane victims. he served in 2005 in OIF in Camp Taji, Iraq and less than a month from redeploying back to the United States, on September 2006 he suffered and accident on the flight line where he was Medevac to Landstuhl Germany. When he finally woke up days later in Germany his left side of his body was unresponsive. He started suffering from seizures, loss his peripheral vision on his left eye and he wasn’t able to walk. He was medically retired in September 2007. Jerry started suffering from symptoms of PTSD like depression, anxiety, anger, etc. because he wasn’t able to be the person that he was before. After doctors told Jerry that he was not going to be able to walk for a long time, he manages to prove them wrong pushing him to the limit. He started walking 3 and half years later.
On November 2013 after been depress for many years, his longtime friend, Norberto Roman told him about Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. He attended to the Soldier Ride event in Nashville TN and quickly he fell in love with the sport. Due to his injuries he started riding on a recumbent trike, he participated in many long distance events on the trike. He kept working hard on his recovery and about 2 years later he decided to start riding a road bike, he started slowly but steady, now days his done numerous of long distance events on a road bike including the most recent one that was a 350 miler from Washington DC, to Virginia Beach over 5 days. Now he is taking his recovery to the next step jumping on a mountain bike. He says the Ski is the limit and that he will keep spreading the message that nothing is impossible in life if you really commit to it.
Jerry Rivera dedicates his life to help veterans that are struggling with their mental or physical illnesses, making sure that they do not become part of the everyday statistics of the 22+ veterans that commit suicide every day. He is committed to lower that number by reaching out to veterans everyday.
Ret. Sgt. Norberto Roman-Perez / Disability Army Retired & Wounded Warrior Alumni
If you know anyone who suffers from combat PTSD or who might gain some hope from this story, please share SSG Rivera’s story with them. Also please use the “Facebook comments” section below to leave some comments of encouragement for Jerry as he takes on his upcoming events. If you would like to support our efforts please visit http://www.warriors-4-life.org and our STOP22 Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SwimBikeRun2STOP22