The American flag which will fly during the World Games in Birmingham this summer made a stopover in Andalusia on Tuesday afternoon as it traveled 3,100 miles from Washington DC where it flew over the US Capitol.
The “Old Glory Relay” is a project of the Red, White and Blue team, which coordinates veterans and other volunteers to carry the flag throughout the trek. The flag was handed over to the veterans on May 25 and will be carried at the opening ceremony of the World Games on July 7.
Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 that supports veterans on their health and wellness journeys by providing real and virtual opportunities to build a way of healthier life. The RWB team has over 200,000 members in nearly 200 chapters and communities nationwide.
“We started doing the Old Glory Relay in 2014 as a way to enrich the lives of veterans. Our riders are members of the RWB team — veterans or civilians. All you have to do is sign up and next year the same opportunity will be available,” said Ryan Ruzek, RWB Team Regional Manager.
On Tuesday, a group representing the Covington Veterans Foundation, the City of Andalucia and the Andalucia Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Covington Veterans Memorial where the American flag was exchanged by members of the RWB team, heading north towards Birmingham.
Lorenzo Garcia of Niceville, Florida and a U.S. Air Force veteran is the captain of the runners who took possession of the flag in Andalusia and carried it to the State Capitol in Montgomery. The group of volunteers spent the night in Andalusia before starting their journey on Wednesday morning.
“As veterans, we have something about us that we love at Old Glory,” Garcia said. “I’m a third generation veteran and when you have the opportunity to represent veterans, you want to do it. When the call comes in, you answer the call.
Along with other members of his Team RWB band, Garcia was joined by his son, Nathan Mutton.
“It seemed like it would be a cool thing to do, especially to do it with my dad,” Mutton said.
During the flag exchange, Mayor Earl Johnson presented the RWB team members with a City of Andalucia pin and CVF President John Vick presented the group with a copy of a handout titled “Hero Comes Home”.
“We thank you for choosing Andalucia to visit on your trip and we appreciate what you are doing,” Johnson said.
Vick added, “Thank you for coming to Andalusia, the most patriotic city in Alabama.”
To learn more about Team RWB, visit TeamRWB.org.
The Birmingham 2022 World Games are the next generation of global sporting competition, welcoming elite athletes from around the world to compete for gold in 34 unique multidisciplinary sports. Featuring 3,600 athletes from over 100 countries, the international event will bring together fans from around the world with the Birmingham community at over 25 venues around the greater metropolitan area. The Birmingham 2022 World Games, which mark the 40th anniversary of the event, will take place from July 7-17 and will generate an estimated economic impact of $256 million. The World Games were created by the International World Games Association, an organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The 2022 World Games are organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee.
For more information, visit TWG2022.com or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.