Panhandle Spirit welcomes wounded warriors


any of our nation's wounded warriors have been flying into Amarillo throughout the day.

They're here to ride in a three-day mountain bike event with Former President George W.Bush.

The event is gaining national attention and is shining light on the Texas Panhandle and these well-deserving veterans.

Welcome rallies showed 20 brave men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan some Panhandle spirit throughout the day, Wednesday.

They were invited to the W100k, a three-day mountain biking event in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

"It's an important issue for us to recognize what they're doing. It's important to bring them to our area and show the welcoming spirit of the Panhandle people and then to be able to see this beautiful canyon and what it holds for them," said Mayor Paul Harpole, City of Amarillo.

"Amarillo National is the host and they've been coordinating these efforts for a very long time. So, they have been mapping out the courses and they're really excited about showing off how wonderful our mountain bike trails are in the Palo Duro Canyon," said Susan Teeple, Amarillo National Bank.

The W100k highlights these veterans' bravery and sacrifice. They all served under Former President Bush when he was Commander in Chief.

They all suffered traumatic injuries, many from roadside bombs.

"Basically serving my hand from right at the wrist and damaging a part of my arm. Broke my right arm and parnell nerve damage on my right side and causing drop foot on my right side," said Sgt. Juan Arredondo, U.S. Army Retired.

"It gives you really bad concussions and we thought we got our bell rung, but getting those so close back to back caused a lot of brain damage and there's about two weeks I don't remember. We got blown up a lot," said LCPL Adam Jahnke, U.S. Marine Corps Retired.

Many of the veterans have been training or participate in other races, but still say their goal is to keep up with the Former President.

"Everybody made me nervous about the President and how good of a rider he is. So, I'm like, if I can hang with him, I think that's what I'm trying to accomplish," said Sgt. Arredondo.

The event starts Thursday, and will continue Friday and Saturday. Pronews 7 has been invited to a press conference Friday with Former President Bush down in the Canyon.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park officials say the park will remain open through the event.