LTdF was founded in 2009 when Army Veteran Joseph Wasson was recalled into service with the US Army for a 10 month deployment to Iraq. Joe had previously served three years in the Army and this deployment notice came as a surprise and a shock. Before he left for deployment, he organized a small bicycle pub crawl with a group of 30 friends and family that rode bicycles to some of their favorite watering holes on the south side of Ft. Wayne and in the downtown area. The proceeds from the shirt sales were donated to a local charity and Joe was sent off for deployment, not knowing what he had started. Joe returned safely in 2010 and organized the second annual Le Tour de Fort that included 75 Riders and again donated a significant amount of the revenue from shirt sales to charity.
As the event grew and nearly doubled every year, Joe needed some help organizing and managing the event. He enlisted the help of his longtime friend and Army Veteran, Vince Corona. Joe and Vince have been friends since attending Kindergarten in 1989. Their friendship was built on peanut butter sandwiches and playing G.I. Joes for hours. They grew up attending the same schools, playing on the same baseball teams and riding bikes together. After high school, they both entered military service with the United States Army.
The Tour has continued to grow and these proud Veterans (unfortunately) have to grow up as well. Shortly after the 2016 LTdF, Joe Wasson married the love of his life. 10 months later, they welcomed their daughter into this world. In February 2017, Joe made the decision to resign from his duties as Founder and President of Le Tour de Fort and focus on his new family. Steve Corona, Vince’s father, then became the new owner of Le Tour de Fort, and with Vince now as president of the event, the father-son team manage the event and continue the simple mission of supporting Veterans, strengthening their community and bringing people together for an awesome time.
Le Tour de Fort continues to support Veterans with substantial donations to Veteran organizations. Our current goal is to replace the fleet of aging shuttle vans used by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter #40. The DAV operates out of the VA hospital in Fort Wayne and provides free transportation for Veterans attending medical appointments in the region. Last year, with the help of our event sponsors, local establishments and all of our Riders, we donated $26,000 to the local DAV. The Indiana state-level DAV matched that contribution dollar-for-dollar for a total contribution of $52,000!