California teen biking across country for disabled

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Joseph Machado is riding across America from his home in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to Washington D.C., to raise money for disabled children.

Machado, 13, was escorted by New Mexico State Police from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari on Friday afternoon.

“It is impressive to see this young man doing such a selfless act,” said Michael Griego, NMSP patrolman.

Machado said he is riding across the country because of his personal experience with disability.

“I was in a wheelchair for over a year as the result of a sporting accident,” Machado said. “While I was in the wheelchair, I had a chance to see how hard life can be being disabled. I also had people make fun of me because I was in the wheelchair.”

Machado, said he spent 18 months in a wheel chair and several months in rehabilitation. He said after his recovery he felt a need to do something for others who were disabled.

“I did not know what I was going to do,” Machado said. “But I knew I wanted to help.”

Machado began talking with family, Robert (father) and Elvira ( mother ) and Mercades (sisters) about his idea.

“He told us he wanted to ride across the country,” Robert Machado said. “We wanted to support him, so we dropped everything.”

Elvira said her son’s idea gained support and before long the idea became a reality.

“He has had so much support,” Elvira Machado said. “In fact, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent Joseph a letter of thanks and support.”

In the letter Schwarzenegger said “Our state is the wonderful place it is today because of amazing young people like you who selflessly give their time and energy to assist others.”

Joseph said his experience has been amazing. He said he has had to overcome the difficulty of riding so close to traffic and breakdowns.

“I had two flat tires today(Friday),” Joseph said. “I have had 10-to-15 flat tires on this trip.”

Today Joseph and his family are in Amarillo following a brief stay in Tucumcari on Friday.

“When this trip is over it would be amazing if the President invited him into the White House,” Robert Machado said.