The cross-country journey wasn’t easy for Dave Parramore.
He set off on his bicycle from San Diego, California, on March 1, planning to make it back to his hometown in St. Augustine Beach on his bicycle alone. The goal: to raise awareness of military veterans affected by COVID-19 and raise money for the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project.
Fierce storms in West Texas forced him to take a train from El Paso to Austin for safety reasons, and he got flat tires in New Mexico, among other challenges. But he also was able to connect with veterans and friends along the way.
On Tuesday afternoon, he made it to his destination and was welcome by family, friends and representatives from military organizations and the Wounded Warrior Project near the St. Augustine Beach pier. He spoke to the crowd after dipping his bicycle in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It was my honor to support veterans along the way and really connect with them,” he said.
Bill Dudley, chair of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County, and Patrick McCormack, president of the St. Augustine-Palm Coast Council of the U.S. Navy League, each presented a $500 check to Parramore on behalf of their organizations.
Parramore said his trip raised about $23,000 in donations for Wounded Warrior Project, and he said another $10,000 grant could be coming to the nonprofit as part of the trip.
His wife, Anne-Marie, was also there to welcome him. She followed his journey online, which he streamed part of at twitch.tv/teamdustoff, and visited him on the road.
“I knew he’d make it back here,” she said.
Parramore, a business owner in government contracting, served in the U.S. Army for more than two decades, including as a medivac pilot, and he wanted to give back, he said.
He’s been cycling seriously for about 22 years, including in the Ironman Triathlon.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many veterans, including hurting revenue for veteran business owners and further isolating older veterans.
“This one was not at all about how many pedal strokes or how many miles; it was more about connecting with veterans and people,” he said. “And so that was a mission accomplished for me to connect with all the veterans along the way.”
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