(Southport, NC) - Twenty-one women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan donned their specially designed Wounded Warrior pink shirts Thursday and rode through Brunswick County's St. James community, where residents lined the streets to shout their thanks and cheer them on.

The day might have been cold and overcast, but the mood of the Wounded Warriors and the St. James women who joined them for a 16-mile bike ride through the town was warm and sunny.

About 25 St. James' women began their ride at Woodlands Park along with the military women, and as they rode through each neighborhood, others joined them.

Typical of the comments was that of former Mayor Shelley Lesher.

As she waited in the Founders Club parking lot, she said, “I'm just going to link on to those folks as they come by.”

By the end of the route, about 75 others had linked on as well.

Some of the women rode adaptive bikes that had been specially fitted for them.

One of them was Air Force Staff Sgt. Alicia Watkins, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as executive assistant to the commanding general.

She is dealing with a traumatic brain injury and has chronic back pain from an improvised explosive device that blew up near her.

She is writing a book and doing speaking engagements to inform the public about the needs of the wounded military men and women when they return home.

The day ended with a ceremony at the Woodlands Park amphitheater, where an estimated 160 people gathered to welcome the bike riders and express their support and thanks to the young women.

Each Wounded Warrior was introduced to the crowd and presented a medal by Tom Kuhn, a military veteran and current member of the St. James Property Owners Association board.

This event was organized by Oak Island residents Bob and Debra Racine, the husband and wife team behind Warrior Ride, a nonprofit organization that provides adaptive cycling “Wounded Warrior” events for veterans.

The local event continues Friday and Saturday with kayaking and a “pretty day” of massages and facials.

About St. James Plantation
Ideally located along the North Carolina coast, near Wilmington, Southport and Myrtle Beach, St. James Plantation offers homes, home sites, and over $100 million in completed private amenities in a gated community that's ideal for retirement and active adult living. Residents enjoy the North Carolina coastal setting, signature golf courses, private beach club, and an Intracoastal Waterway marina and marketplace. Discover the golf, waterfront, and coastal lifestyle of St. James Plantation, the number oneselling community in the Coastal Carolinas.

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