Armed Forces Club Races In Honor of Derek Farley

Nichole Danyla

Staff Writer

Several members of the Hudson Valley Armed Forces Club raced as Team Derek this Saturday in Malta as part of the Tour de Roundabouts race. The event, alternately known as Wheels in Motion, was held by Operation Worthy Warriors.

Team Derek was named in honor of Staff Sergeant Derek Farley, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2005. His mother, Carrie Farley, secretary to the Dean of Liberal Arts at Hudson Valley and adviser to the Armed Forces Club, was one of the members of Team Derek.

This was the first time Team Derek raced. The Armed Forces Club at Hudson Valley had been trying to get a team together since the middle of the Spring 2014 semester.

“This fall when we came back…we decided to roll with it and see what we could do,” said Automotive Technology Services professor and Team Derek member Chris McNally on Tuesday.

The other two Team Derek members were Zach DeJoseph, veteran and student member of the Armed Forces Club, and Brian Vlieg, individual studies department chair.

All of the money raised will go toward Wounded Warriors to help disabled veterans who need assistive technology. “The race in general is for Wounded Warriors so that they can participate in athletic events,” said McNally.

This is the second year Operation Worthy Warriors has held the Wheels in Motion races. ”Last year, it was a very small event, and this year, they are trying to expand it,” McNally said.

McNally was approached by his friend and cycle training teacher Norm Morrey to see if the Armed Forces Club was interested.

“[Morrey found] the resources available for disabled veterans just weren’t enough, and he wanted to offer them the opportunity to be involved in sporting activities. Not just the young vets who are coming back within the last decade but also reaching back into the Vietnam era and even into the Korean War era. There will be some gentlemen who are riding who are Korean War vets,” McNally said.

This ties into the goal of Operation Worthy Warrior. The program is separate but similar to the widely-known Wounded Warrior that Saturday’s event was to support.

The event on Saturday not only included two five-kilometer races and a 10-kilometer race, but also a wheelchair race, a wheelchair obstacle course, and a wheelchair demonstration.

“If you wanted to know what it felt like to race a wheelchair you’[d] be able to get a feel for what these guys go through,” said McNally, referring to the “adaptive equipment” they used for the wheelchair demonstration.

“If you think about how hard it is to ride a bike, you know how difficult it can be, and that’s using your legs, your most powerful muscles. Now try doing the same thing with your arms,” McNally said.

At the end of the event, there was also a family ride so children could join in. Children under 12 received a participation medal if they completed a lap.

The ride gave a chance to get disabled kids on bikes and “get out there on the road just like anyone else could,” McNally said.

Saratoga Bridges, an organization dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities, was also in attendance.

For Team Derek, Vlieg competed in the five-kilometer Time Trial Race and DeJoseph competed in the five-kilometer Hill Climb Race.


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