Man riding across country for veteran suicide prevention stops in Waco
UPDATED: Friday, July 18, 2014 - 9:06pm
WACO — An Arizona man riding his bike across the county to raise awareness for veterans suicide prevention made a quick stop in Waco, Friday morning.
Tom L'Italien, from Flagstaff, teamed up with the Advocacy for Life Veterans Empower Program (ALIVE) in effort to raise money and awareness for the program.
During his first journey, L'Italien pedaled his way from Flagstaff to Boston. After a quick stop into Massachusetts, he discovered the ALIVE program.
L'Italien has felt riding his bike for this cause is his calling, and now, his responsibility.
This years trip began in San Diego, on July 4th. During his time on the road, L'Italien said, he has encountered multiple life-threatening situations.
" I almost died 3 times. A tractor almost hit me, and I was knocked over by the wind twice."
Along the way nestled in his backpack is a white statue model of the Statue of Responsibly. A monument that symbolizes freedom as being a balance of liberty and responsibly. He hopes to one day see that statue stand tall.
L'Italien said, "Since 2004,there have been 90,000 veterans who have committed suicide. I'm now riding with 90,000 veterans behind me...If we don't take care the army that's coming home now, how do we take care of an army in the future? I have a brother that came home from Vietnam and I saw what the effect of war on him. I'm not a veteran, I never served, this is my way of giving back."
He hopes to reach his last stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by August 1st.
After the journey is complete, L'Italien has no plans of slowing down. He said he is going to keep riding trying to raise money for ALIVE and for the construction of the Statue of Responsibility.
"The work begins once the pedaling stops. I was blessed with a pair of legs that I can pedal. Now the work begins to raise money. "
ALIVE is a National Advocacy program aimed at the reduction and elimination of veteran suicide. For ways you can donate to the cause visit www.theTVF.org