The 2011 Champions of Health and Fitness
Pages in this Story:
- America's Doctor: Regina Benjamin, MD
- Compassionate Medicine: Roseanna Means, MD
- The Wheel Deal: Chris Carney
- Budding Genius: Donna Cavato
- Tough-Love Trainer: Jillian Michaels
- Healing Force: Kathryn Schmitz, PhD
- Class Act: John Skretta
- Action Heroine: Jessica Biel
- Social Networker: Chris Downie
- Food Revolutionary: Jamie Oliver
The Wheel Deal: Chris Carney
By Cristina Goyanes
Ideas cooked up at a bar generally don't hold much water. But Chris Carney's suggestion several years ago was a keeper. After hosting a fund-raiser for a wounded soldier, the personal trainer and amateur cyclist from East Hampton, New York, impulsively offered to do a solo coast-to-coast charity bike ride to raise more money. Word of his Soldier Ride spread quickly, and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit dedicated to helping injured veterans, invited him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to meet the servicemen he would be biking for. "The first thing that hit me was their youth," Carney says. "These guys were all in their early twenties. It affected me tremendously." In August 2004 he set out on an almost 5,000-mile route from Montauk, New York, to San Diego.
Before Carney ended his journey on October 7, Heath Calhoun and Ryan Kelly, two wounded veterans who rode with him in Denver, were already planning his second ride, for 2005; they accompanied him the entire trip. By 2006, Carney had raised nearly $4 million -- and lifted the spirits of scores of injured men and women. "Soldier Ride opened my eyes to what my life could be like by not letting my disability define me," says Dan Nevins, a wounded vet. Now executive vice president of events for WWP, Nevins oversees Soldier Rides in 14 states that are open to everyone. Carney is focusing on ways to expand the program. "There are people in warrior transition units all over the world," Nevins says. "Why can't we take Soldier Ride there? That's what Chris continues to pioneer."
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