Schramm helps veterans ‘Ride 2 Recovery’

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Bicyclists arrive at Schramm Inc. in West Goshen on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Schramm Inc. hosted veterans who are bicycling from West Point to Annapolis for Ride 2 Recovery. (Vinny Tennis)

Bicyclists arrive at Schramm Inc. in West Goshen on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Schramm Inc. hosted veterans who are bicycling from New Jersey to Annapolis for Ride 2 Recovery. (Vinny Tennis)

WEST GOSHEN — In 2010, Schramm Inc. made a worldwide name for itself when it provided a mobile drilling rig to drill deep into a Chilean gold mine and rescue 33 miners who had been trapped for 69 days.

Schramm’s efforts to help the Chilean miners caught the attention of Ride 2 Recovery, a nonprofit military organization that helps veterans by getting them on bicycles to keep them active and healthy.

Ride 2 Recovery has numerous types of bike-riding events, which are often called challenges.

On the current ride, the Army vs. Navy Challenge, the bikers made a stop in the West Chester area to have lunch at Schramm.

“We planned our route to come through here from Philadelphia to Wilmington and make the stop to meet everybody here,” said Sheri Goldberg, who does public relations for Ride 2 Recovery. “We heard about all the great work Schramm did with the miners in Chile, so it was a mutual admiration. We wanted to come meet everyone here.”

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Ride 2 Recovery, started in 2008 with a telephone call, provides at no charge bikes, airfare, hotels and food for the veterans to take part in the rides.

“We restore hope and purpose to our veterans, men and women, who have served all the way back to World War II,” Goldberg said. “Cycling is a great rehabilitation therapy.”

When many of these veterans come home, they may have physical injuries or mental injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Getting on a bike helps them get back to normal,” Goldberg said. “A lot of these vets get back and are on medication, can’t sleep and have nightmares. Riding helps them out. This program saves lives.”

According to Goldberg, 22 veterans commit suicide every day and if what Ride 2 Recovery is doing can save at least one of those lives, then it is all worthwhile.

It doesn’t matter what the veteran’s physical status is, either. They have riders who are amputees or paralyzed, including Andy Bernt, an Air Force veteran who is also a Stage 4 cancer survivor, but is now paralyzed.

He overcomes it by riding a handcycle.

“I fell in love with it,” Bernt said. “It took me a while to get up to where I’m at, but before you know it, I’m doing 60 miles plus. Just being with all these veterans, to me, is comforting.”

His dedication didn’t go unnoticed by Schramm workers.

When they found out that Bernt’s handcycle was broken on the road, employees had it brought to Schramm’s Virginia Avenue plant where they repaired it.

The 460-mile ride, hosted by West Point, began in New Jersey on Sept. 27 and will end in Annapolis on Saturday at the Navy vs. Air Force football game with stops in New York City, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Annapolis.

Schramm executives said it was an honor to be a stop on the ride.

“We employ a lot of military and a lot of our employees are also family members of military,” said Sheila Boornazian, human resources director at Schramm. “It’s something we value and we appreciate the service. We really wanted to make this a special day for them and express our gratitude to them.”

Schramm reached out to local sponsors, including Hatfield Quality Meats, local churches, the VFW and Wawa, and each chipped in, whether by giving discounts or supplying tables and chairs.

Schramm also started a fundraising campaign to give money to Ride 2 Recovery, in which employee donations have surpassed $7,000.

With both Schramm and Ride 2 Recovery helping out those in need in different ways, each understands the importance and significance of the other.

“How much more American can you get?” Boornazian said. “When the Chilean mining rescue took place, it made Americans feel proud that they were involved in that, but West Chester felt truly proud. The outpouring of appreciation and gratitude was crazy.

“This is an opportunity to support other people who have served, for sure.”


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Categories: Business, Community, Military

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