09/12/2011 02:00 pm ET | Updated Nov 12, 2011

Ride 2 Recovery: Day One

Day one of any Ride 2 Recovery Challenge is usually the most difficult day of the ride, as many new riders come together for the first time.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and that made it the most emotional experience of any ride we have ever done. The day started in the shadow of the World Trade Center at Liberty Park at the Empty Sky memorial.

After a great ceremony, the riders were off for the finish in Princeton, NJ. The 9/11 attacks have special meaning for many of the riders. It is the largest group we have ever had on a ride and the NJ State Police had us under their wings as we headed through many busy sections of New Jersey.

Former New Jersey State Trooper and NBA referee, Bob Delaney is one of the riders in the group. Bob and his wife Billie were introduced to R2R by Gen. Robert W. Cone when he was the Commanding General at Fort Hood. Bob was an undercover officer in a special mob undercover operation. He was the special guest speaker at on Sunday to talk about his career in law enforcement as well as 25 years as an NBA referee.

While working as a New Jersey State Trooper, he developed post-traumatic stress disorder. He spoke of his experiences and how peer-to-peer therapy, like Ride 2 Recovery, is so important to military, first responders, and others who suffer from PTSD.

He has written two books and has a third on the way talking about how to deal with the condition. The healing heroes gave him a standing ovation.

R2R has been credited with helping countless healing heroes. One of the best stories to come out of this ride has been US Marine Jerry Magallanes. Jerry came to his first ride as part of the Project HERO program at NNMC-Bethesda. When Jerry came into the program, he had undiagnosed diabetes and had been in a diabetic coma. He had a blood glucose lever of 17.6. Now just a few months later, his level has dropped to just 6. He is no longer taking insulin and his doctors have given him a clean bill of health. He was so excited to share the news with all of us at dinner tonight.

A special way to end a special day.....