El Paso resident biking for Wounded Warriors

Published 12:00am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 

Sometimes, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Or at least that’s what 56-year-old Randy Roscoe said he feels like as he pedals his way from his home in El Paso, Texas, across America to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project.

Roscoe, 56, stopped in Andalusia Monday, spending the night at Andalusia’s First Baptist Church. On Tuesday, he was ready to hit the road again. This time, to Evergreen and one day closer to home, he said.

Roscoe, a former long distance runner and building maintenance supervisor by trade, turned to bicycling nearly 20 years ago.

“In 1988, I did the New York City Marathon,” he said. “I didn’t win, of course, but I finished it. The ankles and knees started going bad, so I started riding.”

Roscoe said this isn’t his second ride for charity. His first, from Cincinnati, Ohio, to El Paso, Texas, helped to raise $87,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of his mother.

He said he first heard of the Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit dedicated to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, after volunteering at a veteran’s homeless shelter.

“A couple of the vets there knew I liked to ride, and they said, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ Roscoe said. “I said, ‘That sounds like a good idea,’ and here we are.”

Armed with his Trek bicycle, equipped with a small carriage carrying an estimated 150 pounds in gear, Roscoe covers between 50 and 60 miles per day. He said churches graciously donate food and lodging space or direct him where he can receive assistance as he travels.

Roscoe said he never served in the military, but was just turning 18 when the Vietnam War was winding down. At that time, the draft was over, and he said he noticed that returning veterans did not receive the respect he felt they deserved.

“I’m doing this (fundraiser) because it makes me feel good; because I’m not a veteran,” he said. “Vietnam was winding down by the time I turned 18, but I saw how those guys were treated when they came back. It was a disgrace. And every time I meet a veteran, I can say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ It makes me warm and I can say it’s an honor to shake their hand. This ride is my way of saying thank you to all veterans.”

Roscoe began his journey in August. He’s been on the road for 65 days, traveling from Texas to Indianapolis, where he took a much-needed break with his sister for eight days, and then to Jacksonville, Fla., where the Wounded Warrior Program is headquartered.

Roscoe said along the way, people have generously donated to the program.

“While they may hand me $5 or $10 along the way, I tell people, ‘Visit the website and donate there or mail them something,” he said. “These veterans deserve it.”

To give, visit woundedwarriorproject.org or send by mail to 4899 Bellfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.

Roscoe said he hopes to be home in time for Christmas.

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