By Richard Rhinehart
Frederick, Maryland, March 4, 2015 – The pleasing melodies of live bluegrass music will greet participants of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride as they arrive in Frederick, Maryland the afternoon of April 25. Gaithersburg’s Flower Hill String Band will present a free concert for riders who will be completing a 55 mile journey from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
“We are thrilled and honored to be there,” said band member David Adams. “These folk have sacrificed so much. We love being to give back a little fun and joy with our music, and honor them for their service.”
With an anticipated 150 injured veterans and 400 able-bodied active duty military, retired military and civilians, the Face of America is annually one of the best-attended non-competitive bicycle rides in the Washington, D.C. region. Participants come from across the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe for the ride which honors military veterans who were injured or disabled while in service to their country.
Playing bluegrass music “with a little country, gospel, Celtic, folk, and rock thrown in,” said Adams, the Band will perform for more than an hour as athletes complete their ride and head to local lodging for the evening. The following morning, the riders begin early for a 55-mile ride to the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Presented by Capital One Bank and directed by national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, the Face of America features participating injured veterans who live with paralysis, loss of limb, blindness, Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. For many of these veterans, the 110-mile two-day ride offers an opportunity to regain physical fitness and to create new networks of social support.
In addition to playing at the Face of America, the Flower Hill String Band has played six or seven concerts for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “We have been on the floor with the severely wounded so family members and staff hear us,” said Adams. “We go to a few rooms for private concerts and have met some very brave warriors that enjoyed [the music].”
A veteran of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp at Ft. Myer, Adams reports that Face of America is the only sporting event the six person band plays. A regular at the Montgomery County Fair, the Band also performs at the Washington Folk Festival, charity events and at regional parks and restaurants.
Following their first performance at the April, 2014 Face of America, the Flower Hill String Band is looking forward to returning this April. The players enjoy seeing “all the guys that have been wounded doing amazing things to complete the ride,” said Adams. “The comradeship among the riders” also is heartening.
The 2015 Face of America Ride is supported through sponsorships from Capital One Bank, American Portfolios Financial Services, Booz Allen Hamilton, Benson Botsford LLC, CA Technologies, Deven’s Recycling, DuPont Fabros Technology, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Freshbikes, General Electric, Lerch, Early & Brewer, Penske Truck Rental, Sila Solutions Group, Subway of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Three Wire Systems LLC, U.S. Silica, Vedder Price, Veterans Corps of America and Xtiva Financial Systems.