Disabled Veterans Brought Together At Tulsa 5K Event
TULSA, Oklahoma - Just ahead of Veteran's Day, the Disabled American Veterans organization hosted their third annual 5K in Tulsa. Taking part were inspiring people who have served our country and continue to give back now.
"It's good to be among fellow vets," said Dave Riley, Past National Commander of the DAV.
"You know, the camaraderie - there are lives saved here."
Saturday's event included a motorcycle honor ride, a veteran handcycle honor roll and a 5K for both runners and walkers.
"It's a way to bring the veteran and active duty community together with our civilian counterparts," said Oklahoma DAV State Adjutant Danny Oliver.
"The goal is fundraising, yes, to a degree - but more importantly, it's the outreach."
Representatives for DAV said there are more than 330,000 veterans here in Oklahoma but only about 30 percent of them are registered with the group.
"They have that problem where they think, oh, I didn't serve in the war or more importantly I didn't lose a leg - let somebody else who needs it worse than me," Oliver said.
One of today's participants is Dave Riley who served with both the Army and the Coast Guard. He contracted a bacteria while serving and was in a coma for 30 days. He's now a quadruple amputee who works to help others.
"There are so many other veterans out there that have invisible disabilities," he said. "People don't recognize that just because someone looks healthy sometimes they're not."
"He is a hero to all of us," said Chief Development Officer Brian Cowart.
"There's nothing Dave can't do. He does things that I can't do - he's out here riding a bike and riding the course."
Statistics show 22 veterans take their lives each day, and at the end of this morning's event people gathered around the Spartan sword to take pledge - promising to speak with a "battle buddy" if they are dealing with something.
"You can still help the cause and support DAV by texting "thanks" to 80077.