It took only moments for Hunter Stoneking of Kent to sustain injuries while serving as a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps in Haiti and Iraq in 2004 and 2005.
It's taken many miles of cycling to help him deal with what happened and to learn how to help others.
Stoneking's next ride will bring him to New Albany on May 24 for the first Honor Ride Ohio.
"It's an amazing healing process, putting all of us together," Stoneking said. "It's like being on a mission again almost. You wake up in the morning and you have a briefing before you get ready for the ride, similar to a mission briefing like we did before going on patrol in a country to prepare for the day.
"When we're out there, it's my sanctuary, my happy place. I'm with all the other guys and it's not about me anymore. It's about them and about all of us reaching common goal."
Linda Glassel, the director of the national Honor Ride series, said the rides are held throughout the United States as a fundraiser for Ride 2 Recovery, a nonprofit organization that provides cycling equipment to injured veterans and helps them with individual and group cycling programs.
Stoneking said he injured his back carrying combat equipment and suffered a brain injury when he fell from a truck.
He said it took a veteran at a cycling shop in Kent, where he was attending school, to help bring him out of the world he'd locked himself into.
"I had a hard time transitioning from the military mindset and I was suffering from post-traumatic stress (disorder)," Stoneking said. "My injury causes mood fluctuations. I had a hard time working and wasn't really dealing with people."
Encouraged by the fellow vet in Kent, he learned about Honor Ride and Ride 2 Recovery, Stoneking said, and since he's been dealing much better with post-service life. And he's riding as much as he can.
"Now I can help those same brothers and sisters and it gives me a sense of purpose," he said.
Glassel said New Albany was chosen in part because an Honor Ride Ohio sponsor, Mission Essential, was looking for a veterans cause.
Mission Essential was founded in 2004 by Chad Monnin and Greg Miller, two New Albany residents who served in the Army Special Forces and met during training at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base. The Easton-based intelligence company is planning to move to New Albany.
Honor Ride Ohio also is sponsored by Healthy New Albany.
Glassel said both organizations' commitment and the vibrant cycling community in central Ohio helped secure the New Albany location for the Honor Ride.
"We knew from a cycling perspective that we would have a good turnout," she said. "This is the first of what we hope will be many (events) for many years."
The Honor Ride will include self-paced, noncompetitive rides of 35 and 70 miles through New Albany, Granville and Utica, Glassel said.
It is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 24, at New Albany High School, 7600 Fodor Road.
Injured veterans will ride free, according to the event website. Other riders will pay $65 by registering in advance or $75 the day of the ride. Riders receive a T-shirt, lunch and support along the routes.
Ride packets will be available for pickup from 3 to 6 p.m. May 23, at VeloScience Bike Works, 220 Market St. in New Albany, or from 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. May 24 at New Albany High School.