The Promise Continues (Reflections on the Ride)
In June of 2006 I made a promise to a young man from Santa Rosa, California. His name was Jesse Williams and he was my friend. Jesse and I had met in the Army and were serving together in combat operations in Iraq. Our paths into the service were different. As for me, I had left my job in investment banking, near Ground-Zero, and enlisted following the tragic events five years earlier on 9-11-01.
The promise I made to Jesse was to look after his infant daughter should anything happen to him in Iraq. At the time, I didn’t think that much about the promise. My mind simply did not want to calculate the probabilities and risk we all faced. Still, a promise is a solemn thing.
When the unthinkable happened less than a year later, 11-month-old Amaya Williams lost her father. My friend Jesse Williams was killed in action and it dawned on me that my promise meant more than I had ever imagined.
I quickly realized that for me to keep my promise, I needed help. It was my family, my friends and my wife Heather that made it possible for this lifelong promise to begin to be fulfilled. And while it will never be ok for little Amaya to grow up without a father - she can grow up knowing who her dad was and without having to “worry about a thing” as her father used to say.
The Team Jesse Foundation and The Ride were created as an extension of the promise I made to one young soldier who was my friend. The Foundation and The Ride were developed as a way to extend care to all of the other families of fallen soldiers out there - and finding ways to help them “worry a little less”. And once again, I found myself asking for help. Remarkably, people have come to my aid once again. Some are people I know well, old friends, friends from work, the lacrosse community and my family. Others are new friends I have just met and who believe in the mission.
It’s not about me and it’s not about a bike ride. It’s about commitment and staying true to your word. It’s about family, about friends and about the community that has come together to say thank you for what our nation’s heroes, the fallen, have sacrificed to allow us to live free.
The Ride does not end today. The promise is not fulfilled. In fact, it is bigger than ever. There is more work do - and once again, I am asking for help. I want to thank those who support and believe in me and in our Team. I will not let you down. I promise!
There was something in Jesse’s eyes that day in June 2006. I wonder if he knew how much placing his trust in me meant and how far it would go. Looking back, I think he did.
To the limit of our abilities,
Kevin Mincio President and Co-Founder US Army Veteran