HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A U.S. Army veteran and his six-month old pup made a pit stop in Huntsville Tuesday during his four-month electric bike ride across the country.
David Childress, who served in the 82nd Airborne, is biking across the states with the goal of raising awareness of veteran suicide and how Wolfdogs help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Childress started on May 12 in Fort Myers, Fla., and rides around 20 miles per day. Huntsville non-profit Still Serving Veterans sponsored a hotel room and a hot meal for Childress while in town.
“We were the first stop on the way and he was happy to grab a bed, and to spend some time with other veterans today,” said Janet Page, the marketing director for Still Serving Veterans.
Childress joined the military in 2001. He was medically discharged from the Army in 2005, leaving him in a dark place, but with the help of “Mattersville,” he found hope.
“It’s a pack mentality,” Childress said. “It’s just like your military family. You’re able to be a cog in the system, able to do your part.”
The Colorado-based non-profit helps veterans combat homelessness, PTSD, and suicide through its Heroes and Hybrids program.
“Going through all I’ve gone through in life and all the punishment that I’ve given myself, I realized I needed to shake off that blame and shame a long time ago,” Childress told News 19. “I’m glad I didn’t because it made me stronger over the years.”
His final stop will be in Oregon. Childress says he hopes to make it there by September 11 in honor of those lost on the tragic day.