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A spirit that is not afraid

From boats to bikes, graduate student, veteran fundraises to ride

Dave Enderton fulfills many different roles: athlete, father, graduate student, soldier, wounded warrior.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, where he served in the National Guard, Enderton moved to Auburn when he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.

After looking at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, Enderton said he chose Auburn to pursue his graduate degree.

In 2010, the vehicle he was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device.

“I got my fair share of injuries that I’ve worked through,” Enderton said.

Not only a student in kinesiology, he is also on the club rowing team.

“I just wanted to try something new,” Enderton said. “I’ve got some knee problems from my injury, and running long distances is painful. I wanted something that would help me do some cardio and stay in shape. I’ve always used the rowing machine in the gym, and it has always been my favorite.”

Enderton attended the State University of New York at Buffalo to complete his undergraduate degree.

“I was an, at best, mediocre college student,” Enderton said.

He said joining the Army helped him when he decided to obtain a graduate degree.

“It sets your bar higher,” Enderton said. “It teaches you to really apply yourself in ways you didn’t know you could.”

As a member of the Wounded Warrior Project, Enderton was asked if he would participate in the Historic Savannah Century, a 102-mile bicycle ride in Savannah, Georgia.

“(Wounded Warrior Project) asked for people to sign up, and I said ‘Yeah, I’d love to go on that ride,’” Enderton said.

He said the project isn’t just about the bicycle ride for him, it’s also a source of support.

“It’s always good to get a group of wounded warriors together to build that support group, and know that whatever it is you’re dealing with, there’s other people dealing with the same thing,” Enderton said.

Enderton has served in the military for approximately 10 years.

“I started out enlisted in the National Guard, and then I commissioned and went active duty,”Enderton said.

After graduating from SUNY Buffalo, Enderton became an officer in the Army, and served in Afghanistan.

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Even after sustaining injuries, Enderton keeps himself motivated.

“I have a lot of reasons to put myself last, but it’s always important to make time for yourself and push yourself,” Enderton said.

Enderton said he would like to fundraise in the Auburn community to help him purchase a bike and the necessary equipment.

“It would be really cool to represent the Auburn community,” Enderton said.

Once his time in Auburn is done, his plan is to continue cycling or donate the bike, according to Enderton.

“I’d like to take what I’ve been a part of for the Savannah ride, and create a team at the next place I go,” Enderton said. “If that isn’t feasible, if it’s [the bike] funded by community support, I’d donate it back to the local Wounded Warrior office. I’m really not looking for personal gain.”

Enderton said he enjoys the community and his time at Auburn.

“The people out here have been amazing, everywhere from the rowing team to the kinesiology department,” Enderton said. “Everyone I’ve met has been awesome and made this experience enjoyable for me, and football season hasn’t even started yet! I wanted to leave here and think that I’ve left a little mark on the community. I’ve considered coming back once I’m out of the Army and working on my Ph.D.”

Enderton said he realized there were other veterans in the majority of his classes.

“There has been one class where there hasn’t been a veteran, and it’s a summer class that only has four people,” Enderton said. “[Veterans] are a big part of the community here.”

Danny James, owner of James Bros. Bikes said Enderton contacted him to enlist the shop’s support.

“(Enderton) asked me about using James Bros. as a donation drop site,” James said.

Donations for Enderton’s ride can be made at James Bros. Bicycles on South College Street.

The Savannah Century will be Sept. 5-6, and there are ride lengths of 25-102 miles.

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