5th Wounded Vet Ride

Over 6,000 motorcycles roared through East Boston and the North Shore Saturday as part of the 5th Annual ‘Wounded Vet Ride’.

The annual event raises money for local veterans wounded in combat overseas.

The daylong event, founded by area resident and U.S. Marine Andrew Biggio and former State Rep. Carlo Basile, followed a 40-mile route along the North Shore and end at Suffolk Downs Racetrack with a concert and barbecue.

This year the Wounded Vet Ride helped raise money for Army SSGT Nicholas Lavery, Army SSG Travis Mills, Army SSG Brendan Ferreira and Army SSG Michael Downing.

Lavery was a member of a Special Forces group in Afghanistan when he became ambushed. He lost a leg due to the attack and still serves in the Army. He is the recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts.

“My only regret is that I have only two legs, two arms and one life to give for my country,” said Lavery to thunderous applause. “I would do anything to put myself between you and any enemy that would try to harm this country.”

Mills was with the 82nd Airborne when he was critically injured on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an IED (improvised explosive device) while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.

Ferreira fell victim to a suicide bomber while deployed to Afghanistan. Ferreira suffered the amputation of his left arm, serious sight impairment in both eyes, 100 percent hearing loss in one ear and 50 percent loss in the other, multiple broken bones in his face, legs and torso, and severe lacerations and burns on his entire body.

“I went through a bad time, got lazy, gained weight but now I’m back,” said Ferreira who is now a regular at CrossFit. Friends said he can now do one handed dead-lifts and pull ups.

Downing was on his second deployment when he was left a double amputee after an IED explosion in Afghanistan in September 2008. He has had along road to recovery.Downing enjoys spending time with his wife Dawnalee and their four children. Before his injuries he played golf and hockey and was a softball coach for his daughter’s team.

The event also included a visit from U.S. Marine Sgt. Aaron Alonso and his daughter. Sgt. Alonso lost his legs in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED designed to blow up a truck. At the Wounded Vet Ride organizers presented Sgt. Alonso with a custom made Harley Davidson Trike so he can ride in next year’s event.

All money raised will go to support these American war heroes in their recovery by making home modification.

The annual Vet Run is sponsored in part by the East Boston Italian American Veterans (ITAM) Post 6 and was founded by Biggio, who spent six years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Biggio started the Vet Run three years ago after meeting a wounded veteran a few years ago at another fundraising event held annually at Fenway Park.

“Every year Boston’s Wounded Vet Run will be dedicated to a different veterans,” said Biggio. “The motto of the Vet Run is “They Fought, We Ride.”

Meet U.S. Marine Sgt. Aaron Alonso and his daughter. Sgt. Alonso lost his legs in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED designed to blow up a truck. At the Wounded Vet Ride organizers presented Sgt. Alonso with a custom made Harley Davidson Trike so he can ride in next year's event.

Meet U.S. Marine Sgt. Aaron Alonso and his daughter. Sgt. Alonso lost his legs in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED designed to blow up a truck. At the Wounded Vet Ride organizers
presented Sgt. Alonso with a custom made Harley Davidson Trike so he can ride in next year’s event.

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(FP) Meet U.S. Marine Sgt. Aaron Alonso and his daughter. Sgt. Alonso lost his legs in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED designed to blow up a truck. At the Wounded Vet Ride organizers presented Sgt. Alonso with a custom made Harley Davidson Trike so he can ride in next year’s event.

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