By Richard Rhinehart
New London, New Hampshire, June 27, 2013 – Harry Carr is enthusiastic when it comes to active outdoor sports. The 50-year-old, visually impaired New Hampshire Air Force veteran participates in adaptive skiing, kayaking, archery and volleyball with several organizations. But, it is his new Catrike Expedition recumbent tricycle that receives most of his attention.
“Because of my service-connected disabilities, I have not driven a vehicle for more than ten years,” Carr said. “In addition to the new freedom that recumbent cycling has given me, it has also given me more confidence in myself.” In addition, he reports cycling makes him feel “a lot healthier.”
“My visual impairment is due to a service-connected neurological condition,” said the former Titan II Missile Maintenance Technician. “This condition has also affected my balance in addition to other issues that I contend with on a daily basis.”
Serving with the Air Force for nine years, Carr separated from Active Duty in 1990. During his service, he was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas and Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Following his return to civilian life, Carr worked for a national copy center and a bowling center as a sales manager in Florida before moving north to New England.
Through the VA Boston Healthcare System and the New England Handicap Sports Association, Carr took up recumbent bicycling. Bill Hamilton, one of the volunteers at the Boston VA’s Summer Sports Clinic, noticed that Carr enjoyed cycling and encouraged him to pursue the sport.
“Bill Hamilton is a motivator, he is a teacher, he believes in me, he inspires me and he is just an all-around great guy,” said Carr. “I thank him very much for introducing me to the sport of cycling.”
A participant in the last four Face of America rides from the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, Hamilton also serves as the captain for Team Tyler Hamilton Training. Invited by Hamilton to join the team, Carr rode the full 110 miles in two days from the Pentagon to Gettysburg. “Face of America has been my furthest ride to date,” Carr said.
“I met a lot of people in that short weekend,” Carr recalled of his experience in the late April ride, “But I have certainly made friendships for life.”
Following his successful participation in the Face of America ride, Carr is planning on additional outdoor events. He is scheduled to ride the 100-mile, three-day, Three Notch Century in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this September. He is a candidate for Soldiers to Summits’ two week Peruvian Andes expedition with a team of disabled veterans in October. Other events, such as World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Adventure TEAM Challenge in western Colorado and the Sea to Shining Sea cross-country ride, are also of interest.
“Getting out and doing something is up to you,” said Carr about other veterans with disabilities. “The same applies with staying in and just sitting around and doing nothing. Adaptive devices give you the ability to participate in just about any sport you want. Now, it’s up to you.”
Richard Rhinehart serves as Director of Communications for World T.E.A.M. Sports.