Sal Guinta, Medal of Honor recipient, says fund ‘Recovering’ documentary
My name is Salvatore Guinta, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and the first living recipient of the U.S. Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
I am writing to express my support for the upcoming film “Recovering,” a documentary about injured veterans who have found solace and healing — both mentally and physically — through the sport of road cycling. I have had the privilege of joining these soldiers on rides around the United States and France last year and I’ve seen firsthand how the camaraderie, the physical challenges and the teamwork that is so familiar to many of us who’ve served our country have found new life and fresh purpose for the sometimes daunting task of returning to civilian life.
I’ve seen soldiers overcome amazing odds not only to participate in these rides, but to begin the process of healing their wounds. Custom-designed bicycles allow amputees, even multiple amputees, to tackle the steep hills and long days just as much as their able-bodied colleagues. Soldiers in recumbent or hand-crank cycles receive a helping hand from those on upright bikes. Those suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury are reminded that they’re not alone. Just like in combat, no one is left behind. As a therapeutic tool, cycling is one with few equals and it’s inspiring to see how quickly — and thoroughly — it can help change lives.
During these rides, I’ve also come to know the two journalists who are hoping to bring these stories of recovery to people who would not otherwise be aware of the struggles our veterans face. Michael de Yoanna and Greg Campbell, as civilians who’ve never been to the theaters of conflict where many of these soldiers served, faced a struggle of their own — to earn the trust of people whose kinship had been forged in the fires of combat. That was accomplished because of their clear dedication to sharing the stories of those they followed, by Michael’s willingness to participate in the cycling challenges and not just play the part of spectator, and by both men’s belief that individual acts of recovery are as heroic as any feat of courage on the battlefield and just as deserving of respect and appreciation.
Throughout their time on these rides, serving as “embedded journalists” in a war story that’s all too often not told in the media, they have shown themselves to have heart, compassion and understanding. They are among the rare breed of journalists who understand that the story isn’t over just because the shooting has stopped. Indeed, it’s just beginning.
The filmmakers are raising funds for the final leg of their grassroots effort, editing their footage — with the help of a professional film editor who volunteered for the project because of his belief in the message — to prepare the film for release at festivals, on military bases, and at cycling events around the country this fall.
Please join me in showing your support for their efforts — and the stories of the soldiers they will tell in their film — by contributing generously in these final days of the fundraising campaign. Your donation could make the difference as to whether this film is completed.