“Honor the Warriors” The Jerry Morris Perspective

Allen working on bike.
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MINT HILL, NC – “The Joy, The Journey, The Independence” is the motto of Honor the Warriors, a local 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping military veterans regain their independence.  Jerry Morris is a 14-year Army Veteran and one of the founders of the organization.  In 2016 the Veterans Administration released a study that said between 2001 and 2015 an average of 21 US Military Veterans took their own lives.  Honor the Warriors wanted to do something about this disgraceful number.

Combining their passion for cycling with this desire, Honor the Warriors has been getting veterans on adaptive cycles by working with VA sports therapists and cycle manufacturers.  Initial funding came to HTW from the state of NC.  This allowed them to keep operations moving and purchase the needed equipment.  The late Mint Hill Councilwoman Tina Ross helped to promote HTW in the local community where they have been thriving ever since.  Honor the Warriors meets veterans through the VA and local contacts and identifies who can be helped through adaptive cycling.

Jerry Morris
Jerry Morris


Once Veterans are identified, an adaptive cycle is leased to them, and they are shown how to log miles ridden and events attended.  The mileage is reported monthly to HTW and their VA coordinator.  This shows the VA that they will use a cycle and makes it much more likely the VA will grant them their own cycle.  Success has been great with this program.

The day-to-day operations of HTW consist of 3 elements: 1) HTW supports 3-5 cycling events throughout the year.  These range from E Tennessee to the Coastal Carolinas. 2) HTW supports a weekly community bike ride here in Mint Hill. 3) HTW sponsors a 2-day cycling event annually the last weekend of October.

The 3-5 events are designed to reach out to other communities where veterans live and expose them to our programs.  HTW encourages veterans to get off of their couches and get involved in the activities.  They select the events based on participation and budget.

Visiting a local school
Visiting a local school

The weekly Mint Hill rides are community rides.  They keep a slow conversational pace with fairly short mileage and are always good people to meet.  The rides are every Wednesday at 6:30 pm beginning in the Harris Teeter parking lot on Matthews –Mint Hill Rd.  Updates and schedules are posted on Facebook to Honor the Warriors, What’s Up Mint Hill, and the New What’s Up Mint Hill.  The numerous routes will let you see parts of Mint Hill you never knew existed.  All riders are welcome.  You do not need an expensive bike or fancy riding apparel, but you do need a helmet.  HTW can provide a helmet for you if you do not have one. Just let Jerry know ahead of time.  The ride ends in the same place it began and lasts about an hour.

HTW’s 2-day event in October is their hallmark event.  HTW sponsors 30 disabled veterans to come to Charlotte and Mint Hill and covers all of their expenses for the event.  The first day of the event is a fun ride through the city of Charlotte with stops at 1st Ward Creative Arts Academy, BofA Stadium, Freedom Park and anywhere else riders want to take pictures.  That night the Warriors are treated to a fantastic meal provided by the Mint Hill Women’s Club.  The second day of the event begins at Arlington Baptist Church, and riders select any of three different length routes.  There is a 17-mile route, a 34-mile route, and a 66-mile route.  All are clearly marked with signs, and support is found along every route.  The entire community is invited to this event.  The registration site will be up and accepting registrants by June 1.

Morris is proud of the fact that HTW is operated totally by volunteers.  No one gets a salary, and everything is done out of the graciousness of the hearts of friends, family, and volunteers.  The Town of Mint Hill and the Mint Hill Women’s Club have been exceptional in their support.  Any time the management of HTW gets tough, Morris remembers their beginning and that awful number of 21 suicides per day.  Honor the Warriors and numerous other Veteran organizations have helped that number down to 15 per day, according to the latest numbers from the Veterans Administration.

If you would like to contact Honor the Warriors, Jerry Morris can be reached by phone at (704) 724-4362, via e-mail at Honorthewarriors1@gmail.com, via Facebook @honorthewarriors and at their website www.honorthewarriors.org.

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