Hometown Hero: Project Hero offers the freedom to ride

- Nathan Dewalt has traveled all over the world on his bicycle. But he doesn't peddle with his feet -- Nathan cycles with his hands.

"I've ridden probably over 10,000 miles. I've ridden three of the most epic climbs as a cyclist -- with help, mind you. Not on my own," said Nathan.

Don't let him fool you, Nathan does all of the physical work but Project Hero helped him get the gear he needed to ride. The non-profit organization donates customized bikes to sick and wounded veterans and first responders, giving them the freedom to ride regardless of their disability.

"I wake up every day and I'm doing something that I love. I get to ride a bicycle. I get to interact with my friends, my family," continued Nathan.

Project Hero helped Nathan too. A motorcycle accident in 2008 left him paralyzed from the waist down, ending his military career and his dreams of being a Navy SEAL. But Project Hero led him down a new path of cycling and helping others.
 
"I've gone from zero to 100. I'm now fully recovered," he said.

He connects with other heroes while participating in Project Hero honor rides and bike challenges across the country. And when he's not riding, he's helping build bikes for other wounded soldiers at the Project Hero hub in St. Petersburg

"My heart and soul is here and I wake up every day and I ask myself, how can I make today better than yesterday, how can I help one more person," explained Nathan.

Nathan and Project Hero do more than give bikes to veterans; they help with jobs, education, counseling, and any other service they need.

"I know that my job is making an impact on my community on my brothers and my sisters and people that I signed up to serve beside, and that's very important to me," he added.

Thank to Project Hero, men and women who've lost their legs, their vision, their hearing and -- sadly for some -- the will to live, are able to find the courage to soldier on.

LINK: For more information, click over to www.projecthero.org

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