Wilmington man rides 15,000 miles to raise mental health awareness among veterans
Wilmington, North Carolina (WECT) – A journey that took almost three months across 48 states and over 15,000 miles has been completed.
Army veteran Perry Steed was back in Wilmington with his family and more than 60 bikers and fellow veterans on Sunday.
The journey, which he calls “Ride for Light,” began on May 20, taking Steed across the continental United States. His purpose was to pick up the remains of two of his comrades-in-arms who took their own lives after serving his country. One was in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, and his other was in San Luis Obispo, California.
Steed says the mission was to collect the remains and spread them out on the sacred sands of Fort Bragg’s Sicily Drop Zone.
Along the way, he says he learned some valuable lessons when sharing stories with people.
“Every time I tell my story, every time I talk to someone, you absorb some of their pain and sorrow. When I spoke to some of the people who inspired me, they just said I should try a little harder to live in the moment and pay attention to what’s around me. .
Steed has his own organization called Operation: Purpose to spread awareness about veterans struggling with mental health issues.
When Steed first arrived and turned the corner at Paul’s Place, Steed’s family was waiting for him.
“We are a team and the kids adore their father. , I wanted to encourage you to make this trip,” said Steed.
Liz says the look on the children’s faces when their father arrived was irreplaceable.
It was perfect. Our middle child taught us exactly how hard and how long to squeeze them. They are indeed counting down the days. said Steed
Among the bikers and veterans who warmly welcomed Steed was Jason Gilbert. Gilbert and his wife have been friends with the Steed family for several years, and Gilbert says it was heartwarming to show support.
“It’s inspiring to see people care. And how many people actually care,’ said Gilbert.
Steed has a message for his comrades-in-arms who have the same problem.
“My advice to others who are veterans looking at this is to speak up and reach out to your combat comrades because some of the best help I have received on this trip has been my friends, my For the first time in 20 years, we are drawing strength from each other,” Steed said.
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