Sullivan, Indiana native Ricky Raley knows all about disaster.
When he served in Iraq in 2007-2008 with the Indiana National Guard, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near him. He suffered a brain injury.
Six months later, when he was home, he was involved in a car accident and lost the use of his legs. Fortunately, he came into contact with the Boot Campaign. They gave him his life back.
“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’re not isolated,'” said Raley.
Raley decided he wants to give back by going on the road to raise $150,000 for the Boot Campaign, and he’s going to do it by doing something he loves.
“I was thinking about it. I love to handbike already and I love the Boot Campaign. Why can’t we combine? Then I was like, let’s make it challenging,” said Raley.
It will be challenging; he’s going to handbike from New York to Florida, covering about 1,500 miles in 14 days, starting Aug. 13.
“I train six days a week right now,” said Raley. “And it’s putting mileage on the road and also I do a little bit of strength training as well. All that started with the Boot Campaign's health and wellness program.”
Raley has planned stops along the way. He’s hoping supporters will join him. The whole trek though, has one purpose: to honor the veteran who feels like he’s been forgotten.
“The goal is to have that veteran who’s trapped in a house feeling isolated, run their family off, just feel like they are at the end-- my goal is to reach them with this awareness, and have them know there’s a group of people who are willing to help them. It’s the Boot Campaign and we’re here,” said Raley.