A smile can truly help

A smile can truly help Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Rolden is ready to show the road no mercy on the Warrior Ride going up the coast of North Carolina. (Photo courtesy Fort Bragg Adaptive Reconditioning)

By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - Depression is nothing to smile about, but for Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Rolden, a smile was all it took for him to get on a bike and go. "It really only takes one smile to truly help," Rolden said while referring to one of his Adaptive Reconditioning coordinators Chris Uggiano. Chris is also one of Rolden's biggest cheerleaders as he battles depression and anxiety at the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion.

"One Tuesday morning, I was walking through the hallway with my head hung low, heart filled with sadness and Chris, stopped me in that hallway. He said, 'I've never seen you at cycling, you need to come out to cycling.' The next day I went out and was fitted for a bike. I haven't missed a day yet."

That dedication helped him prepare for the Warrior Ride, a four day cycling event covering 120 miles of the coast of North Carolina last month. The event is a challenging adaptive cycling and morale building event. It is a great opportunity for Soldiers to redefine their capabilities through accomplishment in an atmosphere of camaraderie and support. Rolden credits the care and dedication of the WTB staff in helping him get ready for the event and with his reconditioning journey.

"[The WTB staff] have been so supportive. I would not have been able to perform as well as I wanted without them."

While a smile may have gotten him out to cycling, a "loving" nudge got him to the Warrior Ride.

"My wife made me go," Rolden laughed. "I don't like going out in public and being around a lot of people, but my wife asked me to get out of the house. I didn't know anything about the event, but I'm truly happy I went."

Since 2005, more than 200 Soldiers are happy that they went on the Warrior Ride. Soldiers have recognized that the adaptive cycling event, founded by husband and wife Bob and Debra Racine, is a great tool for recreation and rehabilitation for wounded, ill and injured service members.