Monthly Veterans Luncheon at The Bridge at Paradise Valley

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By: Megan Way and Terence Way | Photos by Su Phelps
Every month, on the first Wednesday at 11:30am, The Bridge at Paradise Valley salutes the bravery displayed by those who have served our country. While featuring a new guest speaker every month, the care home hosts a Veterans Luncheon- free to all veterans and their spouses. This month’s guest speakers were Air Force veterans Kelley and Peter Guidry, Co-Founders of Forgotten Not Gone along with, Forgotten Not Gone U.S. Army veteran volunteer James Abernethy.
In the meeting room, Kelley explained the purpose and origin of their non-profit (while her husband cycled behind her). Originally the VA prescribed a recumbent trike to her husband for depression and anxiety. (Recumbent trikes are longer tricycles with the rider in a laid-back position.) Back then, Kelley had wondered that it was just a bike… How much benefit could that offer? Also, since the VA was unable to help him with the purchase, that helped nuke the idea.
One day, Peter called Kelley after he test-rode one of those trikes. Kelley described the excitement in voice, “like listening to a child again”! So… they bought the trike for Peter. Within two to three months, Peter became a completely different person. “He was like the 20-year-old I snagged in Italy when I met him”, said Kelley. Peter’s depression and anxiety lessened, while becoming more confident and social. This major and positive change in Peter inspired the two to share the idea with other veterans. They then founded their organization, Forgotten-Not-Gone, to buy recumbent trikes with donations and sponsors, providing the trikes to veterans, spouses and their kids, free-of-charge. For more information on Forgotten-Not-Gone and the benefits of recumbent trikes, please visit https://forgottennotgone.org
Afterwards, James Abernethy shared his story, which began with his cigarette smoking habit. But when his son grew older, he convinced James to stop. Unfortunately, it just led to another slow poison… excess food. “Next thing you know I was 300; and pretty soon I was 355 lbs. I was one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel!” So how did he lose 175 lbs.? He did it by both drinking lots of water and adjusting to only 1½ meals a day. James also said that it was essential to keep himself motivated and happy even when the weight was not dropping as fast. James also showed some craftwork he’d made, including woodwork, beadwork and even a painted birdhouse. He explained that keeping his mind and hands busy and happy on these hobbies would keep him motivated- and NOT on food!
If you’d like to attend the next luncheon (on July 3rd, August 7th or September 4th), please call (702) 369-6964 to RSVP.