WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Cross-Country Bike Ride Stops in SE Iowa

Fort Madison, IA – Kevin Sullivan of Cary, NC served in the United States Air Force from seven years. He flew more than 400 flights in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa.

Sullivan was released from duty in 2007 after being diagnosed with severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Sullivan is one of 18 disabled soldiers who are now riding across the country as part of the Sea to Shining Sea Tour. They left San Francisco on May 22 and are scheduled to arrive in Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 24.

"I have always been into athletics and been an athletic person," said Sullivan. "When I heard about this, I could not turn it down. A small percentage of people have gone across the country to have all the support, the cause behind it just made perfect sense."

Sullivan believes people will take different messages and thoughts from the tour. For him it's the hope and determination shown by his fellow disabled veterans.

"We are capable of doing so much and it is not something you do on your own," said Sullivan. "It's something you do as a team, something your family is part of, something your community is part of, and something that disabled veterans, together, are a part of."

Sullivan says crossing the Rocky Mountains and riding through the western desert was amazing. But he says the best part of the trek has been the response from the residents of the towns where the team has stopped to eat or rest.

Sullivan says the riders are now starting to talk about how they will feel when they dunk the front tires of their bicycles in the Atlantic Ocean on July 24.

The Sea to Shining Sea Tour spent July 1 in Fort Madison. Local supporters have organized a parade and held a special welcome ceremony for the riders.

The riders left Fort Madison at 6:30 A.M. (Friday, July 2). They crossed the Mississippi River on their way to Canton, IL.

You can learn more about the Sea To Shining Sea bike ride by clicking here . You can hear more with Kevin Sullivan by clicking the audio link above.