Submitted by Officer Peter W. Malik #5955
DPD Military Liaison Officer
Officer Fredie Cohen, #7263, is not only a bicycle patrol officer for Southeast Patrol Division, but also a Sergeant First Class (SFC) in the US Army Reserve. In 2013, SFC Cohen was mobilized to active duty at Fort Hood, Texas, assigned to 1st Army, Division West Training Brigade. His purpose was to evaluate Soldiers “training and readiness” in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. But this task was quickly halted.
In April of 2014, SFC Cohen suffered an injury that ultimately transferred him to the Wounded Warrior Brigade in Fort Hood, Texas for additional medical care. After numerous surgeries and countless hours of rehab, SFC Cohen made significant progress on his road to recovery. One additional program that made a substantial impact was a bicycle therapy program at the Warrior Brigade. This program enabled Soldiers to further rehabilitate themselves through self-paced group riding. SFC Cohen took on this challenge and more. He trained and competed in the “Ride 2 Recovery Army/Navy Challenge”.
The “Ride 2 Recovery” program started in 2008 with a telephone call from a Veterans Administration Recreational therapist. The therapist believed cycling could be an alternative therapy to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), as well as physical injury rehabilitation. Since the inception, the program has grown to several challenges per year, each with a select group of 200 Veteran riders.
SFC Cohen started this trek on September 26 in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ and traveled with 200 riders over 370 miles in the course of 6 days, climbing elevations totaling over 15,795 feet through some of the most arduous terrain in the Northeast territory. These recovering Veterans were warmly welcomed in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland from waving citizens and members of the Law Enforcement and Fire community. SFC Cohen stated, “In New York, I had one fireman join our group on his bicycle, riding in support of a fellow firefighter that lost his life at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “It was so moving… words cannot describe the support for our Wounded Veterans”, exclaimed Cohen.
SFC Cohen contributes the bicycle therapy program, along with the additional training of the Ride 2 Recovery Challenge, as the staple to his recovery. Colonel Douglas Woodall, Commander of the Warrior Transition Brigade, is a major supporter of these programs. Colonel Woodall stated, “The Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade partners with numerous organizations such as Ride to Recovery to enable our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to heal and continue service as Soldier for Life Veterans. Our Soldiers are leaders of character, and we provide opportunities for each Soldier to accomplish their goals while they prepare to return to the force or transition as leaders in our local communities.”