Story by Maj. Ruth Castro
JUANA DIAZ, Puerto Rico – Veterans that reside at La Casa del Veterano (House of Veterans) received a generous donation of bicycles from the Amgen Veterans Employee Network (AVEN) on November 30.
With the ten new bicycles that were donated, residents at La Casa del Veterans will be able to enjoy their rehabilitation process further.
“The residents are very excited about these bikes and very thankful for them,” said Ms. Esther Santiago, Recreational Therapy, and Activity Coordinator at La Casa del Veterano. “Our residents will be able to use these bikes for recreational therapy.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Rene Berlingeri, a member of the 1st Mission Support Command and President of AVEN, coordinated the “Recycle Your Bike” campaign that collected close to 60 bicycles.
“We worked hard to fix these bikes,” said Berlingeri. “These bicycles will help in the rehabilitation of these brave men and women who have defended our freedom around the world.”
The idea for the bike donations came through conversations with Ms. Lucy Arce, former head of the Veterans Affairs Committee for the Puerto Rico Senate. Arce remains committed to helping Veterans and works in close collaboration with several Veteran organizations.
“As a Soldier, it is important to me that we support and take care of our Veterans,” said Berlingeri. “We have to remember that every Soldier will be a future Veteran and we cannot leave anyone behind.”
Another 49 bicycles collected, will go to non-profit organizations that work with children in the eastern region of Puerto Rico.
“These Veterans will exercise and rehabilitate themselves using this equipment,” said Berlingeri. “Additionally, we will bring joy to the children who receive these bikes that were lying around and not in use by their previous owners.”
The bicycles were transported and delivered in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV), driven by Spec. Kevin Velazquez and Spec. Xavier Santiago, Soldiers from the 432nd Transportation Company “Tartaros.”
Mr. Hector Soto, Rehabilitation Director for La Casa del Veterano, received the bicycles with gratitude.
Amgen Manufacturing, Limited, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Veterans Advocates for Puerto Rico, Ambassador Veterans Services (AVS), Soldiers from the US Army Reserve and Puerto Rico National Guard all contributed to the successful delivery of these bicycles and a joyous celebration.