Segs4Vets recipients participate on a training ride in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Mitch Lincoln.

Segs4Vets? What’s that? Those are typically the first words asked by people when I mention that I’m organizing a 5K event to benefit Segs4Vets.

Other typical responses include: “That sounds like something else starting with an ‘s,’” and then a resounding, “Sign me up!” or “Yes please.” So before we get ahead of ourselves, please let me clarify.

Segs4Vets is a continuing program started in 2005 by the nonprofit organization, Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT). The program provides a mobility device, a Segway PT, to qualified individuals who sustained injuries while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s a grassroots organization sustained through private contributions (read: not government funded) and administered by volunteers. The focus of the program is when our severely injured return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they rise again, choosing the path of independence rather than dependence, once again becoming productive members of society, productive members of their family and continue to serve our nation.

The Segs4Vets program has awarded more than 1,400 Segways to recipients in the past 10 years. Many of our recipients have come back to volunteer themselves in some capacity or have written to let us know how much the Segway has changed their lives for the better.

Segs4Vets volunteers assist a new recipient navigate on an Ally chair, a customized Segway device gifted to recipients who injuries prevent them from standing. Photo courtesy of Mitch Lincoln.
Segs4Vets volunteers assist a new recipient navigate on an Ally chair, a customized Segway device gifted to recipients who injuries prevent them from standing. Photo courtesy of Mitch Lincoln.

My wife and I became involved with the Segs4Vets program while attending an awards dinner more than five years ago, that was held to honor recipients in San Antonio during Veteran’s Day week. We were amazed at not only how friendly and welcoming the organization was as a whole, but also the volunteers. All of whom paid their own way and used their own personal days off to fly to San Antonio from all corners of the country, to be a part of the training events that are held here twice a year.

Being former military brats ourselves, my wife and I were quickly hooked. We later became trainers, where we now help new recipients – most of whom have prosthetics – learn to mount and navigate their Segways while on the streets or other terrain while dealing with obstacles we take for granted, such as stairwells, hills, and elevators, just to name a few. We’ve been touched, seeing the faces of these young men and women along with their family members as they learn to utilize the Segway and quickly realize the positive impact it will have in their lives. Along the way, we’ve met a great bunch of people not only from the organization and the volunteers but also the recipients who we consider part of the Segs4vets family.

So now that you know the back story, let me get to the present, or should I say, near future. My wife and I had a bright idea while enjoying post-race festivities after participating in a 5K. Why couldn’t we plan something similar to benefit Segs4Vets? Sounds pretty simple right? We checked all the boxes in our mind:

  • San Antonio is Military City, USA – check.
  • Fun run/walk – check.
  • T-shirt – check.
  • Post race with free food and craft beer – check.

A few months later, it’s been an experience to say the least. Below are the important details:

The 5K run/walk will take place at the Freetail Tap Room on Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m. and the awards ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $40/person both online and in-person on the day of the race, which will include a free T-shirt, free chip timing, free food, free beer (21+) and post-race awards and door prizes. For more information, please visit www.segs4vets.org to volunteer, donate or show your support by attending our event.

Tell your friends about it, but when you do, please be sure to enunciate it correctly: Segs4Vets. You wouldn’t want to people to get the wrong impression.

*Top image: Segs4Vets recipients participate on a training ride in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Mitch Lincoln. 

Related Stories:

H-E-B Reveals Two New Homes for Wounded Veterans

City Leaders Hear Strategies to End Veteran Homelessness

San Antonio’s Veterans’ Voices: Compelling Stories

A Veteran’s Continuing Journey Back

Mitch Lincoln

Mitch Lincoln is a volunteer for Segs4Vets organization and a transplant Texan. Being a former military brat, he traveled extensively with his family across the U.S. and Europe while in his younger years...