By Katie Sobiech
“There are moments in your life when you say to yourself ‘This is meant to be’,” said Cassie Schumacher, co-founder of “Pedals for Heroes”, and “Wheels 4 Change”.
“The other day I was walking up to the Public Library and was like ‘This is my new beginning’,” Schumacher said of her thoughts before entering the library to begin research on grants.
Recently getting laid off from a career in counseling, she has found this to be a blessing, giving her more time to pour into this endeavor.
“This is the direction I want to continue to go,” Schumacher smiled, “I want to make this my life purpose.”
Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
Biking on Purpose
With a passion that started with biking, then triathlons and endurance cycling, Schumacher says “It’s good to be active, but I think it’s good to do things with a purpose.”
So she decided to create the non-profit, “Pedals for Heroes” (PFH), incorporating her love of biking as a way to raise money and awareness for veterans.
Schumacher is the 4th woman from Ohio to partake in the Race Across America, in which she biked across the country to UTAH , all while sick and enduring 115 degree weather. She says it was “Beyond humbling, but a good learning experience”.
Schumacher co-founded PFH this year, saying “It’s a great way to honor people (who’ve fought in war) and their families. Young people make the supreme sacrifice, but so do their parents. Their lives are forever changed.”
Along her travels, Schumacher meets many who’ve suffered from the after-effects of war, and recently spoke to the mother of a young man killed at war.
“She (the mother) was being interviewed on Channel 19 the other day about all of the deaths in Afghanistan, and that the media isn’t covering that,” Schumacher said.
“These young people are losing their lives every day and nobody hears about it. We’re kinda just going about our everyday lives, but those young people are in harm’s way and we don’t hear those stories,” she continued.
Keeping the Right Focus
“We hear about Mitt Romney and Obama and all these politicians that are making these decisions without this connectedness. We go into a war without even knowing the real facts. Five-thousand Americans have lost their lives over getting into a war that we didn’t even have the right information to go into,” Schumacher stated.
“My vision is to create accountability. Politicians need to know those people that lost their lives, and maybe before they take us into another war they will remember Andy, and they will remember Adam,” she said, referring to two local young men who died at war.
“My goal is for (politicians) to think of that before they make a decision to take us into another war. That’s my ultimate goal,” she continued.
Supporting Local Veterans Efforts
Along with spreading awareness she helps support local veterans outreaches such as “Warriors Journey Home” (www.warriorsjourneyhome.org) and “Valor Home” (http://www.facebook.com/valor.home?fref=ts).
“Warriors Journey Home does great work, creating a space of healing for veterans,” Schumacher said.
She also raised money for the meditation room opening later this year at the Valor Home.
Watch for Part Two Next week on why veterans services hits so close to home with Cassie, her homeless father who is a veteran, and their upcoming documentary.
To learn more visit http://www.wheels4change.org .