Tuesday morning five veterans made a stop in East Tennessee as they ride across country to raise money and awareness for fellow servicemen making the transition to civilian life.
As they suited up, SSG U.S. Army Ret., Ryan Creel, couldn't help but think about his time in the military. Now, that he's back on U.S. soil, he's thankful to have life semi-back to normal.
It's not always easy to make that transition. He knows because he suffers from chronic PTSD.
"Cycling is one way where you can just talk," said Creel, "Then get on a bike and go, go, go and you are constantly moving forward instead of thinking about the past you are moving forward and you are surrounded by vets who don't really judge you."
So, he along with four fellow service members decided to do something about that transition time. They have dubbed it the "Long Road Home."
"The Long Road Home" is a 90 day cross country bicycle ride," explained Casey Miller.
Miller is a civilian who decided to start this project back in July. He knew the power of a bike ride. He searched for willing bikers and found five ready to cycle 4200 miles.
Their goal is to raise money and awareness about the difficulty of transitioning from soldier to father, wife, friend.
'I am very fortunate to have a group of honest riders," said Miller, "They have been honest enough to say, "I need to go do something. I am going to go ride a bike, I am going to take on a huge challenge."
Some cycle for PTSD, others advocate for military sexual assault victims, and U.S. Army Ret. Steve Taylor rides for paralyzed veterans, "I've been wanting to do this for a long time really and I jumped at the chance."
At the end of their 90 days, the group hopes they made people think. Think that even though veterans might be home from war, they still have a long road home.
Two of the five cyclists had to take a break for personal reasons, but the goal is for all to finish their journey in mid-October in Washington D.C.
Some of the money raised from this ride will go to "Operation First Response. It serves wounded heroes with personal and financial needs.
You can follow their journey on their website.
Five veterans bicycling across the country are spending the night in East Tennessee. South College welcomed the Long Road Home riders to its Parkside campus Monday night.
They're cycling to raise money and awareness of veterans' issues and to support veterans' transitions home.
The group is covering a total of 4,200 miles. They started in Tacoma, Washington in July, and hope to reach Washington D.C. by October 14.
"Coming home from Iraq, it's been a really tough transition for all of us. We all have different stories of course, but it's a long road home back to becoming a human again, back to the population," said Steve Taylor.
A group of local veterans will gather Tuesday morning as the team continues on its journey.
Police will escort the group from the Crowne Plaza downtown at about 7:45 in the morning. Their next stop is Pigeon Forge.