Schenectady County

Bikers helping soldiers on journey of recovery

After years of helping wounded soldiers return home from war, 1st Lt. Stephen Hallenbeck and Senior

After years of helping wounded soldiers return home from war, 1st Lt. Stephen Hallenbeck and Senior Master Sgt. Douglas “Dug” Coon felt they could do more to help veterans ease their way back into society.

To raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project — a not-for-profit organization that assists sick and wounded soldiers during their recovery while home — Hallenbeck and Coon will ride their bikes 500 miles this week from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia to Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington in Maryland. They hope to raise $5,000 with the ride.

“Every single patient that I transported and flew home had Wounded Warrior support. Even if it’s something as simple as snap-off pants if they had an orthopedic surgery, it makes life easier,” said Hallenback.

The Colonie resident grew up in Rotterdam, and now works in the Emergency Department of Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. He has been in the military for 12 years, but became a flight nurse in 2008 for the Air Force after becoming a registered nurse.

Coon has been in the military for 29 years and was a Navy diver before becoming a flight medic. He is now working to become a registered nurse, while living in Cobleskill and working at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta.

Hallenbeck is new to biking, while Coon is not. Coon once rode across the country from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean earlier in his military career.

Hallenbeck is hoping biking becomes a new hobby. He’s spent about $2,500 on a new Trek 520 touring bike and all the equipment to go with it, though his training schedule is sporadic.

“I just started training when the weather got warm. I was in [Washington] D.C. for the last 6 months, and it’s been cold. I ride when I can,” he explained.

Hallenbeck plans to take the trip slow and steady, but also not hold up Coon. He said the trip was something most people could do.

“I definitely don’t claim to be an athlete or have a great training schedule. It’s more the aspect of just getting out there and doing it,” he said. “It’s not a race, but something a lot of people can get out there and do who don’t think they can. It’s not an iron man contest.”

Boston-based music group and friends My Silent Bravery, featuring Matthew Wade, will pre-release the title song of their upcoming CD “Can’t Quit” as the theme song for the trip. Wade has agreed to make the track available for download before the CD’s release and all proceeds will be given to the Wounded Warrior Program in the name of Hallenbeck and Coon.

In addition, the group will produce a music video to go along with the “Can’t Quit” song to highlight the “herculean” recovery efforts of soldiers who are in need of Wounded Warrior aid.

Hallenbeck said he would take a fundraising trip again and become more involved in the organization through volunteering.

“This is just the beginning of something. It’s a learning experience,” he said.

To donate to the Wounded Warrior Project and support Hallenbeck and Coon visit

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply