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A Ride for Recovery

June 09, 2014

By: Rob Hane, General Manager, Olive Garden

A Ride for Recovery

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Steve’s drug and alcohol dependence started when he was only 12 years old. He went in and out of treatment centers and jails, but then at age 20 and while in college, he hit a wall, which prompted him to seek treatment and commit to sobriety. Since becoming sober, with the support of the Center for Addiction Recovery that was newly implemented on his college campus of Georgia Southern University, he completed college and has now been accepted into a physical therapy graduate school program. But before starting grad school, he wants to share his story and help others.

This past March, Steve embarked on a cross-country bike ride to increase awareness about addiction recovery and to raise money for the Center for Addiction Recovery. He made stops along the way at treatment centers and halfway houses to share his story and encourage others with similar battles. Steve and I have kept in touch over the years through our shared bond of long-distance running, and I wanted to help his bike ride in any way I could.

Currently, I am a General Manager at the Statesboro, Georgia, Olive Garden. I reached out to other Olive Garden restaurants along Steve’s biking route and 22 of us donated meals for him, his chase driver and others he may be with, such as host families helping to board them or halfway house residents he was mentoring. I am so proud of the level of Hospitaliano displayed by my colleagues.

Steve’s ride started in San Diego, California, and ended in Charleston, South Carolina, in May. His bike ride went through my town of Statesboro, Georgia, and he stopped by my restaurant for lunch. We caught up, and I got to commend him for his efforts. One of my servers even made a cake in the shape of his Ride4Recovery emblem for the occasion. Now that Steve’s ride is over, he’ll be starting graduate school to pursue his goal of becoming a physical therapist.  

I’m inspired by Steve’s strength and dedication and I’m proud that I had the ability to play a role in his recovery. We both share the mentality of wanting to pay things forward, so I’m glad I could contribute to his efforts even if in a small way. And if one person can be positively affected by Steve’s story, then it’s all worth it.

To learn more about Steve Pulley’s journey and his Ride4Recovery organization, visit his websiteand Facebook page.

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