Cyclist raises funds for disabled vets
Mike Weiss, 42, is an avid cyclist. He also is passionate about supporting Disabled American Veterans and recently he used his cycling skills to raise funds for the organization.
Weiss, a resident of Walnut Creek, participated in the 129-mile Markleeville Death Ride and dedicated his ride to veterans with debilitating injuries. He took pledges from the public and his original goal was $500. To date he has collected $1,200, with more coming in almost daily. He completed all five passes, which include Carson Pass as well as both sides of Monitor and Ebbetts passes. The ride covers a 1,600-foot elevation, up hills and down canyons. He started his ride at 5:10 a.m. and ended at 7:45 p.m.
Although Weiss has never served in the military, he is no stranger to war. His father served in World War II and his two uncles and his father served in the Korean War. One day as he watched a TV documentary on patients at an Army hospital in Washington, D.C., he felt his blood curdle. The tragedy of war hit home.
“Almost every day we hear the latest casualty toll in the war in Iraq. There’s not so much attention given to the injured,” Weiss said. “Some are quite young – ages 18 to 20 – and they have lost limbs and suffered burns from military duty in the Middle East.”
Not wanting to feel helpless, he thought there must be something he could do not only for those currently serving the country, but for all veterans with debilitating injuries. That’s when he thought of cycling, an activity in which he has participated for 20 years.
“It’s my belief that when people contribute their time and energy to community no matter how big or small, then that community, whether local or national, benefits by a subsequent rise in strength, character, integrity, unity and ultimately, respect,” Weiss said.
“By doing this ride, I not only provided assistance and awareness to our disabled veterans, but provided my community an opportunity to demonstrate their respect and gratitude to our disabled veterans whose physical freedoms have been forever limited so the rest of us can maintain ours.”
Weiss said he chose the Markleeville Death Ride because of the challenges, struggles and physical discomforts that remind him and help him focus on the struggles that disabled American veterans face every day.
“For the most part, life goes on, but for many of these people – they can’t go on. We live busy lives and we forget all too easily. I don’t want these people to be forgotten and I want to raise awareness to their plight.”
Weiss is asking people to show their caring and compassion by making a donation to the Disabled American Veterans. To make a contribution, send checks to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301. For more information visit http://www.dav.org/yourhelp.