A Ride to Remember: Warriors Find Healing in The Keys through Rolling Project Odyssey
Motorcycles, mental health, and the magic of the Florida Keys. That was the setting and focus for a group of veterans at a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) workshop called Rolling Project Odyssey®.
“We were in a place I’ve never been to, just enjoying the ride, breeze, and sites,” said Air Force veteran Bill Thomas. “But it wasn’t just about motorcycle riding. While we were there, we worked on our mental health, learning different skills and listening to our brothers and sisters about how they cope with certain situations.”
Bill was one of 14 veterans from the Southeast U.S. who participated in this Rolling Project Odyssey. Fueled by Harley-Davidson® since 2015, Rolling Project Odyssey is a unique motorcycle group riding experience that aims to support warriors in their recoveries from invisible wounds of war.
In addition to motorcycle riding and mental health education, the warriors visited the Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit research and education facility in the Florida Keys, where the veterans swam with dolphins. The veterans also visited a few locations of Peterson’s Harley-Davidson and rode to Key West to see the Southernmost Point of the continental U.S.
“It was really a good mix of adventure-based activities, learning some mental health coping skills, and helping the warriors build their support network,” said Project Odyssey specialist Melissa Morgan.
One of WWP's mental health programs, Project Odyssey uses adventure-based learning to help warriors manage and overcome their invisible wounds. In Rolling Project Odyssey, motorcycle riding becomes the catalyst for the first week of the program to provide mental health education. After the workshop, warriors work together with WWP to stay engaged, achieve their personal goals, and make lifelong, positive changes. Previous Rolling Project Odysseys have taken place outside of Milwaukee — the headquarters of Harley-Davidson — as well as mainland Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
Rolling Project Odyssey is part of a larger partnership between Wounded Warrior Project and Harley-Davidson to honor and empower wounded veterans. Known as Operation Personal Freedom™, the partnership also includes co-branded apparel, a consumer donation campaign, and dealership events across the country.
Learn more about how you can support the mental health of wounded warriors and their families.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. www.WoundedWarriorProject.org
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