By Sgt. Heidi Agostini | DVID | Dvidshub.net | November 11, 2011
Camp Pendleton, Calif. - More than 20 cyclists participated in the 4th Annual Padre Pedal Power Ride from Camp Pendleton to San Diego, Nov. 11.
Navy chaplains, along with religious program assistants and friends pedaled their bikes from the I Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element building to the commanding generals building aboard the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Veterans Day to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund.
“Four years ago my son and I decided we wanted to do something for Veterans Day,” said Navy Capt. Irving Elson, a chaplain with 3d Marine Air Wing. “We had just gotten into cycling again and we decided to ride from Camp Pendleton to Balboa Hospital. Sadly that’s the journey that a lot of our veterans take.”
Fifteen riders joined the father and son team on the inaugural ride. The group grew over the next three years to include seven chaplains and four religious program assistants this year. Elson is already planning for next year’s ride.
“It’s just a great way to observe Veterans Day, by doing stuff with our feet and our legs, he said.” The first half of the ride is gorgeous because we come down the coast to Torrey Pines. We’re lucky that we’re able to get out there and ride and we hope that by raising money for the Semper Fi Fund, others who have been injured will be able to ride again someday.
More than $5,400 was raised to support the Semper Fi Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance and quality of life solutions for injured or severely ill service members. The fund provides relief to qualified service members and their families for immediate financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery, as well as perpetuating needs such as home modifications, customized transportation and specialized equipment. The Semper Fi Fund has awarded more than 36,000 financial grants totaling more than $55 million in grants given to injured and ill service members and their families.