North County Times: Wounded Marines help raise $300K in ride

By Linda McIntosh | North County Times | | October 31, 2012

Camp Pendleton Marine Lt. Col. Tres Smith was one of three injured servicemen who accompanied 65 cyclists earlier this month on a 430-mile fundraising bike ride from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Camp Pendleton that raised $300,000 for the Semper Fi Fund, which supports injured Marines and their families.

After riding four days across deserts and mountains, the group of mostly civilian cyclists arrived on base Oct. 13, welcomed by Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, his wife and Cpl. Ronnie Porta along with friends and family.

Team Semper Fi ride 430
Team Semper Fi riders Lt. Col. Tres Smith, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jorge Ochoa and Sgt. Jorge Toledo.

Cyclists rode more than 100 miles a day, each raising an average of $6,500 for the event, known as Ride 430 Challenge. The ride also raised $100,000 to be split evenly between the Knights of Heroes Foundation, which provides a summer camp for military children who lost a parent in combat, and the MARSOC Foundation, which supports wounded service members and families of those fallen.

Smith and two other cyclists, Sgt. Jorge Toledo and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jorge Ochoa, are members of the Semper Fi Fund's "Team Semper Fi," a rehabilitative sports program with more than 400 injured service men and women. The ride has raised $1.2 million for the Semper Fi Fund since it started five years ago.

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