Inspiring Iraq Vet Cycles 1,500 Miles To Raise Money For Wounded Veterans
A paralyzed veteran recently made an incredible journey down the East Coast for a very worthy cause. This vet actually hand cycled 1,500 miles to raise money and awareness for his fellow wounded servicemen!
Casualties of War
Ricky Raley knows all too well what injured soldiers are going through physically and mentally. While in Iraq in 2008, Ricky tragically suffered a brain injury after an explosive device detonated near him while on patrol. Worse still, just six months after he returned home, he was involved in a horrible truck accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
An organization called the Boot Campaign helped Ricky on his physical and mental journey to recovery. The group specifically helps veterans with health and wellness, something that Ricky truly needed. “It’s a group of people who have this organization who say, ‘Hey, we’re here for you and there’s a treatment process. You are not isolated,’” he shared in an interview.
Ricky was so incredibly grateful for the group’s help that he decided to give back to them. The vet set out on a journey to hand cycle from the 9/11 memorial in New York all the way to the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch in Pinellas Park, Florida. His goal was to raise $150,000 for the organization who helped him to regain some use of his leg muscles.
Not only did he want to raise money for the Boot Campaign, but Ricky also wanted to raise awareness about the mental health of veterans after they get home. Often, they go through unseen trauma because of what they’ve experienced overseas. Ricky wanted to continue that necessary conversation and let other vets know they aren’t alone.
Eyes On The Prize
The veteran went through rigorous physical training to prepare for the grueling 1,500-mile journey from New York to Florida. However, the physical ride wasn’t the trickiest part. “The toughest part of this ride is definitely mental,” Ricky shared. “Physical, you can train yourself, but mentally takes a lot longer to train for.”
Ricky powered on and was able to cycle about 130 miles per day. He rode through various towns, garnering support from many people along the way. Throughout his journey, the veteran was able to raise close to $65,000 and counting! Though he didn’t quite meet his fundraising goal, the fact that Ricky was able to raise that much money and make the long trip to Florida is amazing. His journey truly made a long-lasting impact for his fellow veterans, and that’s what matters most.
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