Operation MAKE A DIFFERENCE 2012

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The Event: Operation MAKE A DIFFERENCE
A 100-Mile Century Ride from Orlando to Tampa

Building Homes for Heroes invites you to join us for our Operation MAKE A DIFFERENCE Century Ride. This event will take place on April 14, 2012 and is our first bicycle ride across Central Florida from Orlando to Tampa. The ride will draw participants from across Florida, as well as from Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa. This event will benefit Building Homes For Heroes as we continue to fulfill our mission of providing custom built or renovated homes to critically injured veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There will be three distances for riders to choose.

The longest is the 100-mile ride will begin near the new home construction site for wounded veteran Specialist Robert ‘BJ’ Jackson.

The 50-Mile Ride will begin in Lakeland at David’s World Cycle. And the Heroes Ride to the Finish will be a 10-mile ride to support Sgt Josh Cope as he completes his 100-mile hand-cycle ride.

All rides will finish near the home of Army Sergeant Joel Tavera in Tampa. Sgt Tavera received his mortgage-free home courtesy of Building Homes For Heroes in November 2011.

Getting The Word Out

This will be our largest fundraising event to date in Florida. This ride will be crossing through four counties in Central Florida, and will go through Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa, as well as smaller communities along the way.

The demographics of the event participants will include
 Bike tour ‘regulars’
 Serious cyclist of all ages (local bicycle clubs)
 General cycling and fitness enthusiasts
 Friends of Building Homes For Heroes
 Local Cycling clubs from Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa
 Members of County and City Police, and Fire departments

This event will appeal to a broad demographic of the people of Central Florida who support our country’s veterans. Central Florida is one of the areas of the country that has the highest number of retired military living here. Many businesses, non-profits, families, and individuals know someone in the military, worked with someone who served in the military, or are themselves veterans. The event and the cause will appeal to a broad demographic of people and organizations across Central Florida.  

How to Participate in the Make A Difference Century Ride

Whether you have extensive training and experience, or you would just like to have a fun day out with the family and support a great cause, we have the ride for you.

1 The Century Ride will begin in Lake Nona area of Orlando, will proceed through Lakeland and finish in Tampa, FL. This ride was the inspiration of Iraq Veteran Sgt Josh Cope as a personal goal to raise awareness for Combat Wounded Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to support the Mission of Building Homes.

2 The Half-Century Ride will begin in Lakeland Florida. This ride will give participants in the Lakeland and Tampa area to participate in a challenging ride and help raise awareness for a great cause.

3 The Heroes Ride to the Finish is a fun event for folks who are avid riders and would enjoy a day out with family and friends. This ride will directly support Sgt Josh Cope as he finishes his last 10 miles of his 100-mile ride from Orlando.

The cost to register is $30 if you register online, or before April 12, 2012.

Registration fee will be $40 per person on day of event.

So all you have to do is pick which ride you’d like to complete, and then go to http://buildinghomesforheroes.org/makeadifference/ to complete your online registration.  

A Unique Event

Building Home for Heroes is a non-profit organization that builds custom homes from the ground up, and renovated homes, to meet the unique needs of combat wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. We provide these homes mortgage-free. By starting this ride at an existing construction site in Orlando, and riding to the location of a completed home project in Tampa, this event highlights that Building Homes For Heroes actively provides homes for combat wounded veterans in Central Florida.

This is a story of three combat veterans.

Sgt Josh Cope has a vision and a passion to help raise awareness, and to make a difference in the lives of combat wounded veterans in the community. Josh was injured in Iraq in November 2006 when the vehicle he was riding in rolled over an improvised explosive device which resulted in the loss of both his legs above the knee and caused serious injuries to his right hand. This event is the result of Sgt Cope’s vision and passion.

Specialist BJ Jackson is a combat wounded veteran of Iraq. In 2003, Specialist Jackson was injured when the vehicle he was driving triggered a roadside bomb, and was immediately hit by rocket-propelled grenades. As a result, Specialist Jackson lost both his legs below the knee, and suffered severe burns on his arms legs and back. Specialist Jackson and his family are the next veteran family to receive their home in the Orlando Area.

Sgt Joel Tavera was wounded in Iraq on March of 2008. The Humvee that Joel was riding in was hit by five rockets. Sgt. Tavera lost sight in both of his eyes, his right leg, four fingers on his left hand, and suffered very serious head trauma and critical burns to 60 percent of his body. Sgt. Tavera, is an inspiration to all he meets. His will, his passion for life, along with his extraordinary spirit and perseverance, serve as an example for anyone who is facing difficult times. Sgt Tavera received his mortgage-free home from Building Homes For Heroes in November 2011. 

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