Team Semper Fi
Helping Veterans One Bike Ride At A Time By Javier Morales
Ryan Beamish's love for bicycling is at the heart of what pumps life into his various ventures related to riding. Growing up in Tucson riding BMX bikes and later gaining a love for mountain bike riding, Beamish has always appreciated the values of riding in addition to enjoying the challenging courses, workouts and a sense of accomplishment. Beamish, a former Marine who is an Iraq War veteran, feels most satisfied when assisting disabled veterans as part of the Team Semper Fi Fund. He has participated in mountain bike skills camp with Team Semper Fi, aimed at supporting veterans on their roads to recovery. The Semper Fi Fund is a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured service members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Team Semper Fi Fund sports program personifies the motto "Recovery Through Sport" by using bicycling and other sports to overcome the physical and invisible challenges its service members fight every day. "Really, the biggest thing with these amazing veterans is they use no excuses," Beamish said. "They walk on uprights. They are missing limbs. We're here to help. These guys are digging in deep and not quitting. It doesn't matter if you have
buddies who are missing both legs. Nothing is going to stop them now. We are working with each other and feeding off each other. I try to provide mentorship." Beamish, 32 and recently married, and The Team Semper Fi Fund were active during the recent Loop the Loop in Tucson, trying to make the non-profit organization more visible. Fifteen team members participated in the event, including some of the handicapped veterans. Beamish has been a manager of the Team Semper Fi Cycling program since May, and "so far I am happy with the results" of creating more awareness of how the program is helping those who became severely injured while in combat. Although he is a manager and does a lot of work with organizing, Beamish is hands-on when it comes to helping any way he can. For instance, with his extensive background as a mechanic at various bike shops in Tucson, he knows all about the maintenance of bicycles and he tries to share that knowledge with his team members. "I want to make sure they are wellversed on products and that they are selfsufficient when it comes to bikes," Beamish said. "Again, a big thing with these guys is having no excuses and getting it done." Getting it done is a fitting motto for Beamish, who went to great lengths to
making sure his old dog named Duke could have knee surgery. He didn't have the $4,000 to get it done, so he brainstormed and used his countless hours working on bikes to come up with an idea of bike-chain art to try to sell. He was familiar with welding old unusable bike chains together for different purposes, including a key holder near his front door. "I thought of making a large saguaro cactus out of a bike chain and welding it together as an art project," Beamish said. "I brought a couple of them into the bike shop and made a couple of hundred dollars off them. I started to bang more of them out and refined the design of it to make them look more smooth and clean. "Bicycling magazine published a story on it and it really took off. I went well beyond my goal of paying the $4,000 for Duke's knee surgery." Beamish had Duke since he returned from Iraq in 2007, and he served as a therapy dog for Beamish as he tried to get back on with his life after serving. "I had some long nights working on fulfilling orders for the Saguaros and on my days off from my day job at Broadway Bicycles, I would hit up different bike shops for materials such as oil chains, cogs and chainrings," he said. "These shops have donated a lot of these materials. I have plenty in reserve. I am very grateful."
Ryan Beamish with Duke. Chris Hinkle Photo Duke passed away on Jan. 20, 2017 from an aggressive form of Valley Fever, but Beamish said he cherished the nine years he spent him. He calls the Saguaro bike-chain art Duke's Saguaros. "I really miss him," Beamish said. "He helped give me that spirit of making sure others are fine and that they are being helped in their greatest time of need." That spirit is being carried on with his work with the Team Semper Fi Bicycling Program. "My passion for bicycling and using that to help out my brothers wipes out all the negatives," he said.
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