Military Veterans Finish 4,200-Mile Bike Trek in the Nation's Capital

Physician Assistants Cap off PA Week by Celebrating Coast-to-Coast Journey to Support Veterans

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, five U.S. military veterans will ride the last leg of the Long Road Home Project (LRH), a bicycle journey across the United States designed to help them heal from the wounds of war while raising awareness of the tremendous challenges facing veterans as they return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  

The 4,200-mile journey, which began on July 15 in Aberdeen, Wash., will come to a dramatic close as the riders take to the road one last time on Sunday, October 14. They will ride from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the District Architecture Center in D.C. for a reception in their honor, hosted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants. AAPA has partnered with the LRH Project on a series of events related to the tour in cities such as St. Louis Mo., and Knoxville, Tenn.

"As our warriors return home to fight new battles with medical problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, we remain deeply committed to caring for them and their families," said James E. Delaney, PA-C, president, AAPA. "The first PAs in the 1960s were Navy corpsmen, and our profession has continually celebrated and honored our military roots."

PAs provide healthcare for service members and their families at home and abroad. Veterans often return home to face new battles with injuries, both visible and invisible. More than 1,700 PAs provide care to these former service members within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Thousands of other PAs practice medicine at U.S. military installations.  A PA helped cyclist Glenn Isaac Fretz (U.S. Army, retired) regain the use of his hands after they were severely injured in a battle with the Iraqi Republican Guard during Operation Desert Storm.

"He never gave up on me," said Fretz. "He went into surgery with me. He didn't have to go into surgery with me; he did it because he cared. He told me to pay it forward, and I've tried to do that ever since."

The LRH cyclists also include Marie Tracy (U.S. Air Force), Ryan Creel, (U.S. Army, retired), Colleen Bushnell (U.S. Air Force, retired) and Steve Taylor (U.S. Army, retired). Each has experienced tremendous personal challenges related to his or her military service, including homeless, PTSD and long-term injuries. The team was led by Casey Miller, a civilian with a deep concern for veterans.

The Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants, Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants and AAPA also hosted a casual reception for the cyclists at AAPA Headquarters in Alexandria on Saturday, Oct. 13.

To learn more about the Long Road Home Project and AAPA's resources for medical providers to better care for veterans and military families, visit www.aapa.org/veterans.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 86,500 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org to learn more.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants



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