By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Members of the Tucumcari Police Department and first responders were thanked for their service Friday by a 38-year old Texas woman bicycling across America on Route 66.
Danielle Girdano of Nevada,Texas, said she wants to thank as many police, fire and emergency medical services personnel as possible on her voyage to reclaim the world record for the fastest coast-to-coast bicycle ride on Route 66.
“These brave individuals go unnoticed for their dedication and service to their communities,” Girdano said. “I want to thank them all for what they do for all of us.”
Girdano presented health-conscious gifts to the police and first responders.
“I am truly humbled for someone like Danielle to take the time to thank us for our service,” said Jason Braziel, chief of police.
Braziel said Girdano’s gesture is appreciated in a time when there is so much negativity toward law enforcement.
“It’s amazing to receive such appreciation,” said Elena Coronado, an EMS first responder. “It’s not often that EMS and firefighters get recognition for their service. Danielle’s thanks and gifts are truly appreciated.”
The record for bicycling on Route 66, from Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, is 44 days, held by Iris Klein of Germany.
Girdano said the ride is about 2,400 miles and she is attempting to complete the journey in 43 days or less.
“I’m also riding to advocate and raise awareness about childhood obesity and bullying,” Girdano said. “I am a survivor of both obesity and bullying.”
Girdano said she was an obese child and grew into a morbidly obese adult. “I weighed near 400 pounds,” she said.
Girdano said there is an undeniable correlation between obesity and bullying. She said she decided to turn her life around through hard work, eating right and exercise.
“I want to be a living example to children and adults,” Girdano said. “I want to show people that it is possible and not too late to change your lifestyle and improve your health.”
Girdano said she is on pace to beat the world record. However, she said her progress slowed Friday when she became intimate with New Mexico’s winds.
“I went from 28-mph to about 11-mph,” Girdano said. “I’ve heard from many bicyclists that winds in New Mexico would be a challenge.”
You can follow Girdano’s journey at www.highwayforhealth.org and on Facebook: