As a veteran I have been lucky twice: First as an infantryman in the relatively quick Gulf War and second as a medic in the relative safety of a military hospital in Afghanistan. I want to do something to help those who were not as lucky. This is a bike ride to raise money for Veterans. The charities linked below are all rated "Best" by Independent Charities of America or "four star" by Charity Navigator and have a great track record of helping Veterans in need. I am asking friends and family to pledge a penny or more per mile I ride (see pledge link above) and then make the corresponding donation to the charity of their choice after I finish in July. Wind, weather, terrain, and motivation will all play a role in how far I ride, but my goal is to pedal somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 miles (about $25 for each penny pledged). Once I start riding from Portland, Oregon the website will be updated daily with my current location and miles ridden. Thank you for any support you can give. -Neil
Thank you to everyone that pledged to help support veterans in need. I made it as far as Elbow Lake, MN, but after taking three days off, a 10 mile "training" ride quickly made me realize I need more time than I have to fully recover from some bike inflicted wounds (no need to go into the gory details but let's just say the saddle was at fault!). I didn't reach my goal of 2,500 miles, but 1,617 will have to suffice.
Together our pledges still equal almost $12,000 so please take a moment to visit the website or your charity of choice and make the donation. Each website has an easy way to donate online, and of course all donations are tax deductible. A few of you wanted to donate to the charity of my choice, and to that I would say the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Although all three chairties do great work, the Fallen Heroes Fund is doing the most to combat traumatic brain injuries (one of the biggest medical problems resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).
Again, thank you for the support. Although the people and scenery were great, your pledges certainly helped get me over the mountain passes and tackle the occasional headwind.