As a self-proclaimed car guy, Army veteran James Hoke filled a need for speed at the recent Texas Mile car show.
The Texas Mile attracted more than 220 high-performance and muscle cars, land-speed racers, and motorcycles. Veterans were allowed to race on the mile-long track and mingle with other warriors in a comfortable, high-octane atmosphere. Cars lined both sides of the strip, which allowed veterans to sightsee and swap car stories at their own speed, according to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).
“I appreciate the camaraderie of being with warriors and seeing so many incredible cars,” Hoke said. “Just like the other warriors at the show, I’m a gearhead.”
Gatherings like this get wounded veterans out of the house and engaged with fellow warriors, limiting the common struggle of isolation faced by many returning from war. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military, according to WWP.
“Everyone at WWP really took care of us,” Army veteran Rocky Cheek said. “It means a lot to get back together with other warriors. I liked being around my brothers again.”
Cheek likes riding in cars as much as seeing them, so he turned the car show into an excuse for a 400-mile road trip from Oklahoma.
Cheek and Hoke both liked the Ford GT40 MKII, a car that ran 268 mph at the show.
“I liked the seeing the Lamborghini Gallardo, too,” Hoke said.
WWP program gatherings offer settings that provide opportunities for injured veterans to form bonds. The programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term care for the most seriously wounded.