MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A motorcycle riding experience through the Florida Keys that ends Friday has provided camaraderie, emotional support and mental rejuvenation for a group of veterans as part of a Wounded Warrior Project program called Rolling Project Odyssey.
Participants rode across the Seven Mile Bridge following a Thursday morning interactive dolphin experience at Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit facility on Grassy Key.
At Dolphin Research Center, veterans learned in-water commands and swam with a group of the Atlantic bottlenose mammals.
Air Force Retired Master Sgt. Bill Thomas said the Keys experience has been remarkable for the veterans and refers to these excursions as mental health workshops, explaining that he has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We’re all dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Thomas said. “So, being here certainly brings down the anxiety level (and) it takes care of the depression.”
Rolling Project Odyssey is organized by the Wounded Warrior Project to empower wounded veterans during multi-day mental health workshops designed to help rejuvenate veterans and navigate the ups and downs of everyday life, often influenced by PTSD.