Man Finishes Cross-Country Bike Ride to Help Vets
His trip may be over, but he's still looking for your support for vets with PTSD.
When Ray Charley dipped his bicycle in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego on April 1, he said perseverance was at the heart of his next challenge in life. That perseverance paid off Saturday when he dipped the tires of that same bike in the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine Florida, the end of a 3,058 mile, 48 day, cross country trek to raise money to support veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Ray, who owns a chain of grocery stores in Greensburg and Murrysville PA, just east of Pittsburgh, decided to make the ride with a small group of friends after hearing of the high suicide rate among veterans, especially those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ray's ride started April 1 in San Diego.
An average of 22 vets commit suicide each day in the U.S. "We don't want to over-dramatize that, but it's certainly hard not to," said Ray in one of his many Facebook live reports.
Ray has been doing Facebook lives, posting pictures and sharing parts of his diary on the Charley Family Shop n Save Facebook page since the start of his ride.
"Lush fields gave way to...great desert sand dunes. I mean, Lawrence of Arabia sized sand dunes!" wrote Ray on Facebook.
Ray celebrated his 68th birthday on the road on May 1, two-thirds of the way through the trip. Stopping at the border of Texas and Louisiana he said: "Today is the last full day in Texas. Texas is one huge state my friends! It's been a great adventure, and just having a wonderful time seeing this great country of ours!"
Ray reported meeting great people, and running into some unexpected things like an alligator, and this tumbleweed!
All along the way, Ray has been encouraging people to donate to his Ray's Ride Campaign through Feherty's Troops First Foundation, a nonprofit organization benefiting injured and disabled veterans.
As of yesterday, Ray said the campaign was approaching $60,000, and urged people to keep giving to help him get to that number. "It will make a great deal of impact in the lives of those who need support and help,"
Ray (right) and his team finished Saturday in St. Augustine, Florida!
(Images & Video: Charley Family Shop 'n Save Facebook page)