JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An emotional and long journey ended in Jacksonville for one wounded veteran who rode a bicycle from one side of the country to the other, with a goal of raising awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder, along with other organizations near and dear to his heart.
Steven Hughes, a disabled veteran, pedaled into Jacksonville in the final leg of his ride, which stretched thousands of miles.
"All back roads. We went down places we never would have went if it hadn’t been for him doing this bike trip," his wife, Deborah Hughes, said. "So we got to see some very neat spots of America."
Deborah Hughes followed behind her husband through each state in a car as they raised money and awareness for things like PTSD and veterans' service organizations.
"We have family members who suffer from the effects of PTSD," Deborah Hughes said. "I had a nephew who was in the Marines and suffered from PTSD and took his own life, so it’s near and dear to us."
As Hughes arrived in Jacksonville, a group spent the morning building bicycles for 20 local children, ending one man’s venture that stretched from coast to coast, all to help men and women who served their country.
"We are celebrating the end of an almost 3,000-mile trek across America," Deborah Hughes said. "From San Diego, California, where we (dipped) the tires of his bike miles into the Pacific Ocean, then yesterday we dipped them into the ocean in St. Augustine."
Steven Hughes specifically raised money for the Travis Mills Foundation, which has a facility in Maine where wounded vets can recuperate at no cost; Project Hero, which helps first responders and vets suffering from PTSD; and an Air Force village which houses retired Air Force widows.