Day 5: 2017 UnitedHealthcare Memorial Challenge Blog

Presented by Boeing 
June 2, 2016

Today we continued our streak of the best weather in 10 years of this event.  The ride through the countryside of Virginia is one of the most popular rides of the year. We had the annual challenge of transferring across from Hampton Roads to Norfork. We mounted our bikes and rode through Virginia Beach to the Geico Headquarters in Virginia Beach. At Geico, we were met by John Pham, the Regional Vice President and a host of employees waving signs and flags and cheering for us as we rode in.  Our good friends from the USO were also there to add to the festivities.  

We were also met at Geico by  Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the Danish Minister of Defense and Lars Gert Lose, Denmark Ambassador to the US, who were there both in support of Project Hero and their countryman Jens Sondergaard, who has ridden with us throughout the Memorial Challenge. 
Since tomorrow will have a distinctively Danish flair as we will be joined on our ride by the Danish Ambassador, it’s fitting to profile Jens Sondegaard, a member of the Danish military who has ridden his first Challenge with us this week.  

Jens is from Viborg, Denmark and is an expert wheelchair basketball player and hand cyclist who heard about Project Hero while taking part in Warrior Week and Invictus Games.  An avid cyclist, he rides three to four times a week and has enjoyed this year’s Memorial Challenge.

“It’s been perfect,” he said. “It’s like one big family and I thank everyone for treating me so well and making me feel so welcome, especially Mike Arroyo and Pat Ryan.  I can see Project Hero is helping many Veterans get better and pushing them to lead better lives.”

A member of the Danish Army Joint Defense Staff, Jens did not take part in yesterday’s ride at the end of the day to complete a Century on this Challenge, but is determined to achieve that goal in the near future.  “I want to come back to complete the Century,” he said. Jens will compete in wheelchair basketball and recumbent cycling at the upcoming Invictus Games in Canada so plans to return to ride with Project Hero next year.  
We send our best wishes to Jens for success at the Invictus games and look forward to his return to Project Hero as soon as possible.
Tomorrow is the final day with a ride in Virginia Beach featuring the Ambassador of Denmark.
Also, in case you missed it, the May issue of HEROES magazine is here:
Media coverage of the UnitedHealthcare Memorial Challenge includes:

Project Hero Partners — Who make it all possible