A North Texas man will be joining 15 other military members this weekend for the fourth annual “Wounded Warrior” bike ride.
The event is a 100 kilometer mountain bike ride hosted by former President George W. Bush at his ranch in Crawford.
James “Will” Williamson, a veteran from Southlake, hasn’t been on this trip before but he’s not a stranger to cycling. He said he uses his bicycle as a form of therapy.
"Freedom. You know. Once you get out on the road and start riding, it's just you,” Williamson said.
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That’s what he also said about flying a helicopter for the Army. He joined the Army after spending several years as a tail gunner in the Air Force.
“It doesn't matter how bad the day is, when you pick up, you're at peace,” he said.
But there were many times while flying an Army helicopter that weren’t peaceful, including a 2003 helicopter crash and when he was shot in 2009. One of the bullets in that shooting went straight through his helmet.
"I woke up flat on my back on the concrete," Williamson remembered. "Looking at the rotor blade spinning around. It knocked me unconscious. I basically took a small arms round."
That was when Williamson said he knew he should retire and came back to the United States to teach young pilots.
As a form of therapy during that transition, he took up cycling.
"We find those outlets. You know you have to find a recovery outlet. For me that's cycling,” he said.
Williamson said he’s looking forward to mountain biking at “Wounded Warrior," especially because he will be with other military members who understand his story.