Wesley Chapel, FL - Joshua Cope, who was wounded in a 2006 explosion in Iraq took on a new challenge Saturday when he rode his hand-cranked bicycle from Orlando to Tampa to help his fellow wounded warriors.
Army Sergeant Cope rolled into a parking lot off of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa Saturday after riding nearly 12 hours from Orlando to the Bay Area without the use of his legs. Cope was riding a Top End Force G bicycle given to him by the Veterans Administration as part of his therapy more than a year ago.
The exhausted warrior was greeted to a hero's welcome as he peddled his bike to a celebration honoring the completion of his 113 mile trek through the back roads of Central Florida. Cope rolled up to the waiting arms of his wife Erica and the couples three children - the eldest holding a sign proclaiming "#1 Daddy."
Sergeant Cope was caught in an explosion in Iraq back in 2006 which resulted in the tragic loss of both his legs in service to his country.
The idea for the ride was conceived when one day Cope and a few of his fellow army buddies, who also suffered various war injuries gathered to put together ideas to raise money for "Building Homes for Heroes," an organization helping to provide homes for wounded vets and their families.
The Tampa Tribune reported that it was then when he looked down at his bike the idea just popped into his head, "I would ride 100 miles" said Cope.
Never really riding all that much before his injury, Cope said he trained intensively for the ride and told the Tribune: "I did it to help the guys and raise awareness."
Describing his marathon ride, Cope said: "The hardest part was about 20 miles out, but we were getting this done. There was no giving up."
During the celebration, Sgt. Joel Tavera stepped up to shake Cope's hand and thank him for his help in raising awareness to the plight of the wounded vet.
Tavera, (also severely wounded in Iraq) already has received a home with help from the "Building Homes for Heroes" organization said to the Tribune: "I have the endurance to do a lot of things but I don't have the endurance to do what Josh did. Man, he is amazing."