Inspired by a triple amputee veteran who received a specially adapted smart home from the Gary Sinise Foundation, firefighters from Washington state will bicycle from Seattle to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a fundraising effort to help build adapted homes for injured veterans who are accepted into the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program.

This 21 Day cycling event will cover approximately 1,600 miles and pass through 5 states with stops at firehouses along the way. Riders will arrive in Colorado Springs on September 20th in time for the annual International Association of Firefighters Fallen Firefighter Memorial services on September 21.

NW Firefighters

The IAFF members from Washington State are part of a non-profit organization called Northwest Fire Velo. Northwest Fire Velo’s mission is to raise funds for veterans and first responders through the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment. This will be accomplished through biannual multiday cycling events.

The simple tasks of everyday life -- climbing stairs, reaching a high shelf, getting in and out of the bathroom -- are easy to take for granted. Because these tasks are done without a second thought, it’s impossible to imagine an inability to perform them. But that’s often the reality for our severely wounded heroes, where basic tasks are impossible obstacles and the enduring ambition of rehabilitation is to achieve a semblance of normalcy.

Under its R.I.S.E. program, the Gary Sinise Foundation is building specially adapted smart homes for our nation’s most severely wounded veterans and first responders. They are constructing these one-of-a-kind homes across the country, each for a wounded hero, their caregivers, and families. With a place to truly call home, they will now be able to move forward with their lives.

The riders are expected to end their first day of the journey arriving at the Cle Elum Fire Department, 301 Pennsylvania Avenue around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. The day 2 ride will start at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 30th.

Donations can be made at Firefightersride4Rise.com.

At the inaugural event in 2017, firefighters bicycled from Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California. After 1,500 miles, and nightly stops with fundraising events at local fire departments, the group raised over $36,000 for the R.I.S.E. Program. They were also instrumental in having the R.I.S.E. Foundation fund new Turn-Out gear for a small volunteer fire department in Sixes River, Oregon.