Gold Star Mothers of New Mexico
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! (see pictures under Photo link)
Dear Family and Friends,
I just wanted to send a quick note that I reached the Atlantic Ocean yesterday, dipped my front tire into the water and successfully completed the Semper Fi Ride Across America ahead of schedule. I have attached a couple of my favorite pics from the journey. I have many more but do not want to clog your inboxes.
It has been an incredible journey and I met some great Americans along the way and saw a beautiful country up close and personal. I had a very blessed ride and had only ONE flat tire after 3,113 miles across 13 states and 4 time zones. I also had very few mechanical problems and when they did occur they happened near cities with bikes shops that were open and able to fix the problem right away and get me on the road again quickly without losing any time. I also want to thank everybody who kept me in their thoughts and prayers along the way.
I was also blessed with excellent weather considering some of the storms the Midwest and East Coast experienced this year. I did get wet a couple days but I never had to stop riding or delay my journey because of severe weather. My route took me through many parts of Missouri that were effected by tornados about 10 days before they were devasated by the storms so I consider myself very lucky.
I would like to thank again everybody who has already donated. If you were considering donating but were waiting until I finished I still have not reached my secondary goal of $35,500 and would appreciate any assistance reaching my goal. You truly are making a direct difference in the lives of injured Marines and other service members and their families. Please consider donating 1 penny per mile or giving up eating out once this Memorial Day weekend and donating to a great cause: www.SemperFiRideAcrossAmerica.com
I would also like to thank my brother Bob (and his wife Amanda), John Greenway, Hank Donigan, and Mr West (my USNA sponsor) for taking time off and support me during part of my journey. They also helped me find the best route, provided elevation maps so I always knew where the next moutain I would have to climb, and where bike shops and hotels were along the way. Lastly, I would like to thank John and Kelly Greenway, Mr and Mrs Zembiec, Jim and Erin McCoy, Fr Conner, Jon and Nola Bingham, and Mr and Mrs West for their gracious hospitality to allow me to stay at their home during my rest days and to Dem & Dari Smith who opened thier home to a complete stranger and allowed me to stay with them in KY for a night. There are many others who helped me along the way like Kiersta who gave me a lift to the hotel when I ran out of light in KY and Hutch who gave me a short lift after I blew a spoke on the border of WV and MD. Lastly, I would like to thank Nytro Bike shop in Encinitas who helped get my bike in top condition and for the fundraiser they sponsored, Cumberland Trail Connection Bike shop who worked overtime to fix my spoke after it blew and the Bike Doctor Bike Shop in Arnold, MD for helping get new cleats and did not charge me for them after they broke on the end of my ride.
This Memorial Day weekend please pause to remember that the holiday is more than a couple days off to BBQ and go to the beach. Also, please continue to keep all the Marines who are deployed to Afghanistan in your prayers and all the Marines and other serive members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
As I announced last month, I will be riding my bicycle across country to help raise money and awareness for the Inured Marine Semper Fi Fund www.semperfifund.org. I now have a tentative detailed route which I will be taking for the “Semper Fi Ride Across America.” I will start the ride at the Oceanside Pier on Easter on April 24th and plan to finish on Memorial Day on May 30th in Ocean View, DE. The bike ride will be over 3,300 miles and I have stops planned at Albuquerque, NM; Tulsa, OK; Washington D.C.; Annapolis, MD to name a few. Thank you to everybody who has already donated and please consider donating even a small amount as every bit counts. I would like to extend a special thank you to the Dr Scholl Foundation who has generously offered to match any donations up to $10,000 and it would be great to take advantage of every dollar. It has been a hard year of fighting this past year and there are MANY Marines who now have injuries which have changed their lives forever and will need long term assistance. Below is the link to my donation page: http://www.active.com/donate/SFFCOMMATHL2011/SemperFiRide
Many of you have asked what is next for me... I have recently received orders to Hawaii this summer and will be departing San Diego. Like all the other places I have lived I extend an open invitation to visit me in Hawaii anytime. I have a feeling I will receive more visitors in Hawaii than I did in Camp Lejeune, NC. I have thoroughly enjoyed living in Southern California but all good things must come to an end. There is a good chance I will be coming back here again in the future but a change of scenery will be nice.
Lastly I have included a recent article from the NY Times that is optimistic about the future of Afghanistan. Nobody knows what Afghanistan’s future holds, but I also choose to be optimistic about Afghanistan’s future. However, we must never forget why we are here in Afghanistan. We are here to prevent al-Qaeda and the Taliban from having a sanctuary to plan future attacks against Americans as they did on 9/11.
Thank you for all your prayers throughout this deployment and previous ones. However, please continue to keep all the Marines in your prayers as this is going to be another busy year in Afghanistan. I will send a short email out once I am back safe to San Diego.