Cyclists raising money to honor military, riding across Indiana and other states

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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2014) - Two bicyclists are making their way across Indiana and several other states this week to honor and raise money for our military, and they've already had some special encounters along the way.

Don DeBusk and his girlfriend Janna Rowan call it a ride of honor. The two are raising money online for care packages for our troops, through a page called Cycling2Give.

“If there’s anything we can ever do to give back to the military, that’s our goal,” said Rowan.

For DeBusk, it’s a special cause. He comes from a military family, and had hoped to join the military himself.

“I tried twice,” said DeBusk. “(But) I couldn’t join the military (because) I’m deaf in one ear, so I just wanted to do something to pay back.”

DeBusk and Rowan began their journey in Michigan on September 5, and will ride all the way to Nashville by the time they’re done, stopping Tuesday night in DeBusk’s hometown of Hope, Indiana.

“It’s exciting,” said DeBusk. “You’re seeing the backroads, you’re seeing the country. I grew up in the country so it reminds me of home and I really enjoy it.”

But it hasn’t all been easy.

“We had a lot of struggles today,” said Rowan. “We had a flat tire a mile ago… he changed the tire (and) a mile later we had another one.”

But as they fixed that flat tire, they came across a silver lining.

Of all places, they happened to stop at Carl Hammons’ – a veteran of Korea and World War II.

Hammons told us he appreciates what Don and Janna are doing.

“I think that’s wonderful,” he said.

“It’s really a small world,” said Rowan. “We go to the gas station to fill up (and) there’s a veteran there… so things definitely happen for a reason.”

“They’re all grateful and appreciative,” said DeBusk. “It’s everybody’s dream to meet a famous person that’s important to them, but for me it’s an honor to meet a vet and thank them… like I say, if they didn’t do what they do, we couldn’t do what we do.”

Hoosier Heroes is an Emmy Award-winning segment that focuses on Indiana veterans. View other Hoosier Heroes stories here.