Sitting next to active Lt. Col. Tres Smith of the United States Marine Corps, war hero, as he drove lead vehicle during our cross-country ride, we talked for over an hour about his time in combat, the wounds he's received both physically and emotionally, and the healing effects all of these riders are experiencing through the camaraderie and unity of this adventure. Adaptive Sports has brought this incredibly diverse and inspirational group of people together who may otherwise not have met, and have built long lasting relationships and the ability to bond over something only they can relate to.
The laundry list of Tres' military achievements made me feel honored to be sitting next to this man and thankful to know we have warriors like him fighting for our way of life. A decorated war hero who was shot down while choppering in supplies to troops fighting on the ground in Afghanistan, he sustained 6 bullet holes with one, as he puts it, "magic bullet." Injured but not deterred, he worked like a maniac to get his body healed so he could return to his squadron and continue the fight. He returned to Afghanistan and beyond numerous times after his injury and is currently an active Marine working at the Pentagon.
Tres' determination is complimented with a dry sense of humor and an overwhelming calm no matter what he is presented with. 40 mile stretches, into 3 hour drives, then back on the road; Tres welcomed with ease. For me, one of the highlights of the trip was when Tres offered me his road bike to join the group for a 20 mile stretch. It was an honor to cycle with these athletes and Im thankful to Tres for giving me that unique opportunity.
Watch Tres' short video clip up top, then the full story below and vote "like" on youtube to support our team!
- Jon Johnnidis: Adapt & Conquer DP/Director