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This summer, five U.S. veterans will bicycle across our great nation to heal their wounds from war. This group of former service people includes men and women of diverse ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Empowered by their differences, these five veterans are united.

United in their effort to heal their wounds from war via a long distance ride.

United to bring awareness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of service people often face  difficulty returning home and,

United to raise money to help other veterans live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. We are raising $75,000 to accomplish this year’s ride. Funds raised above this will go towards supporting future rides and Operation First Response, a national non-profit dedicated to serve all branches of our nation’s Wounded Heroes and their families with personal and financial needs.

The 4,200 mile journey begins July 15th near Tacoma and ends 90 days later in Washington D.C.

By the end of these 90 days:

1,500 vets will have committed suicide.

270,000 cases of PTSD will have been reported since the inception of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

50,000 veterans will have returned home physically wounded since 2001, and

300,000 vets will spend a night on the street.

Riders

     Marie B. Tracy (Marty) (U.S. Air Force, 27), has served the military for 6 years and has just returned in Afganistan where she worked as a Logistics Advisor. In riding across the country, Marty hopes to highlight the diversity of service people our military has, especially the LGBTQ community, and is riding for the service of all veterans. Marty is grateful for her ever-supportive friends and family, especially Front Runners New York. In 2011, Marty earned her Master’s Degree in History from Columbia.

 

Glenn Isaac Fretz (U.S. Army Ret., 41) served during Desert Storm, earning the Army Service Ribbon and The Nat’l Defense Service Medal. After an accident left him paralyzed in ’94, Glenn struggled to rebuild his life. Thanks to the support of his two children and wife who he met in Guam, he has participated in over 10 Wheelchair Games since ’02. He holds a B.A. in History (Class of’09) and is riding for those who never made it home.

 

Ryan Creel (SSG U.S. Army Ret., 31) served as a U.S. Army Combat Photographer during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After multiple deployments to the Middle-East, S.E. Asia and the Balkans, Ryan was diagnosed with chronic PTSD and medically retired from the U.S. Army after 13 years of honorable service. Since 2010, Ryan has used cycling as a form of therapy and aims to inspire others with PTSD to overcome their challenges via exercise and peer-to-peer camaraderie.

 

Colleen Bushnell (U.S. Air Force Ret., 39) served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After MST in 2006, Colleen experienced homelessness, PTSD, and suicidality. Today, she is an advocate for all victims of assualt and is riding to bring awareness about women in the military and single-parent veterans. She is recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and The Nat’l Defense Service Medal. See Colleen’s Blog

 

Steve Taylor (U.S. Air Force Ret., 59) was drafted to the military in 1971. He spent the next 26 years serving his country in tours as broad as the Noriega Conflict in Panama to both conflicts in Iraq. After an injury left him partially paralyzed in 2004, Steve spent many years in recovery. A ride across the nation will be his biggest feat to date, something he wants to do to inspire veterans and civilians alike to never give up.

Book

In 2011, Casey Miller road his bike across America, leading him to found the Long Road Home Project.

Click on the image above to buy one today (all proceeds go to the Long Road Home Project).

Beneficiary

The Long Road Home Project has three goals:

First, to give our veteran cyclists the opportunity to use the healing power of long-distance cycling  to overcome their own war-related injuries.

Second, to draw national attention to the fact that 100,000s of service men and women often face considerable challenges when returning home, and

Third, to raise money for direct-service veterans charities.

This year, the Long Road Home Project is proud to partner with Operation First Response. Their mission is to serve all branches of our nation’s Wounded Heroes and their families with personal and financial needs. Services are provided from the onset of injuries or illness, throughout their recovery period and along their journey from military life to the civilian world. Financial aid varies as each case is based on individual needs ranging from rent, utilities, vehicle payments, groceries, clothing, and travel expenses.

For more information about Operation First Response, please click below

Crew

Casey Miller is the founder of The Long Road Home Project. Prior to the Long Road Home Project, Casey lived in Mexico City where he held the position of VP of Latin American for an international waste-to-energy company he helped to found.  In the Fall of 2011, Casey bought a bicycle. Then rode it. Alone. From Portland, OR to Boston, MA. He is now finishing a book about the lessons he learned on the road. Casey holds two Master’s degrees from Harvard.