2018 World T.E.A.M. Annual Review 2018 World T.E.A.M. Annual Review | Page 13

A group of older military veterans stand at attention. With quiet dignity, they salute the passing athletes who are pedaling hand cycles, recumbent bicycles, and standard upright bicycles. In a moment, the cyclists are out of sight, but the veterans hold their salute for a moment before slowly lowering their hands, out of respect for veterans who have served their country in war and in peace. World T.E.A.M.’s Face of America Liberty introduced a new route in 2018, a change from the program’s first two years that ended in Manhattan. On September 29, participants cycled 56 miles from the historic home of Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman at Sleepy Hollow, New York to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Along the Hudson River Valley, athletes pedaled through quiet farmlands, old growth forests with bright autumn leaves, and small communities that have been home to generations of Americans. TEAM > INDIVIDUAL Chaired by U.S. Army Special Forces Captain James McCauley, Jr., Face of America Liberty welcomed Northwell Health as a returning partner in the cycling challenge. Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow served as the start and Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco hosted the morning rest stop. Hospital staff at both locations offered friendly support as enthusiastic volunteers to help meet the needs of the athletes. Like Face of America Gettysburg in the spring, Liberty welcomed adaptive and able-bodied athletes consisting of military veterans and civilians. With a modest number of athletes in 2018, the journey north from Sleepy Hollow had a personal and supportive feeling. This led to friendships that will last long after the program’s conclusion that afternoon. The hilly route along the Hudson River’s eastern bank ended after a steep climb and descent to cross the river on the scenic Bear Mountain Bridge, once the world’s longest suspension bridge. On the west side of the Hudson, athletes pedaled north to the United States Military Academy. Once inside the Academy’s gates, cyclists led by West Point alumnus Col. Gregory Gadson, passed numerous historic buildings on campus before arriving at scenic Trophy Point. Here, many captured trophies from past wars and conflicts are on public display. A segment of a giant 75-ton chain that once crossed the Hudson is also on view; it prevented British war ships from following the river north during the Revolutionary War. While celebrating the finish with food and beverage, many of the athletes took time to relax and enjoy the inspiring view of the Hudson River below. In the warm sunshine, participants, volunteers, and families celebrated the successful conclusion of Face of America Liberty and made plans for the future. 9