The VVA Veteran® Online

January/February 2016

Rockland County, New York, Chapter 333: Handcycles for Injured Young Veterans


“Our success rate has surpassed our wildest hopes,” said Roy Tschudy of Chapter 333 in Rockland County, N.Y., about a program the chapter began in the spring of 2013. Members have raised funds and purchased special handcycles for veterans with above-knee amputations or spinal cord injuries following their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The handcycles play a vital role not only in rehabilitation, but also recreation—and, in some cases, competitive racing.

Jim Klein, director of the prosthetics department at Castle Point VA Hospital, had told Tschudy how much veterans with debilitating injuries could benefit from handcycles. So Tschudy began working with Chapter 333 member Marcus Arroyo, a former Navy SEAL and a Purple Heart recipient who has a great deal of knowledge about bicycles. When Arroyo set out to learn about handcycles, he discovered Top End, a manufacturing company owned by a retired Navy SEAL who was severely wounded during the Panama invasion and who, like many handcycle users, is confined to a wheelchair.

“Each cycle must be specially designed,” Tschudy said. “They are very intricate; each has as many as 32 gears.” The cycles range in price from $4,000 to $7,000, depending on the style, shape, and individualized features.

Reaching out to veterans in need was a challenge for Tschudy and Arroyo, because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevented them from making direct contact with disabled veterans. Klein helped by connecting them with the manager of Voluntary Services at Castle Point, Yvette Rodriguez. Rodriguez and Klein then helped find two candidates who expressed a desire for a cycle, and who, in turn, contacted Tschudy and Arroyo.

In conjunction with members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 333 presented handcycles for rehabilitation to the VA Hospital in Castle Point, N.Y., and to the VA hospital in Montrose, N.Y. These cycles are assigned to the rehabilitation floor to be used for physical therapy and recreation, Tschudy said.

Chapter 333 has also raised the funds to donate handcycles to three veterans with debilitating injuries who requested them for competitive racing. U.S. Army veteran Freddie De Los Santos, the recipient of a Top End custom-made “Force K” handcycle, is a professional handcycle competitor who has since gone on to win two races using his new cycle.

The chapter has an additional handcycle that it displays at fundraising events and sometimes lends out to veterans for races. A December 19, 2015, fundraiser at Palisades Center Mall brought in more than $750 for the program. Because billboards and the chapter’s own handcycle get the message across, “Folks from all walks of life donate money without direct solicitation,” Tschudy said. He mentioned that each donor receives a thank-you memento containing a star from a retired American flag and the name of a U.S. servicemember killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Chapter 333’s Handcycle Committee also includes Ted Goodman, Jay Fink, and Cliff Fromm. Other chapter activities include providing scholarships to local veterans, helping veterans in need, and visiting local schools to share their experiences in Vietnam.

“Our time as military personnel has proven to be much more than serving our country,” Tschudy said. “We have gained the insight to provide assistance to our brothers and sisters in need.”

To learn more about Chapter 333’s handcycle program, contact Roy Tschudy at or Marcus Arroyo at

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