By Ms. Adrienne Brown (AMC)March 16, 2017
Chris and Corey Decker are making their way from San Diego, Calif. to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina on bicycles to help bring Awareness to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The father and son are a part of Mission 22, a non-profit organization that is pushing for veterans to receive the medical they need to remain mentally healthy.
According to the Veterans Administration, about 22 veterans a day are lost to suicide. Many ambassadors of Mission 22, use '22' to complete various missions. In the case of Chris and Corey, they are biking 22 miles a day.
The journey led them to lodging at Elliott Lake for the week of February 20 where they were able to rest and recuperate before the reminder of their cross country journey continued.
"Only one percent of our population is in the Armed Forces," Corey said. "That's a small percentage but everyone knows somebody who has or is serving right now which makes this mission so important. We just want to be sure that these men and women are getting the care they need in order to keep going."
Corey will pedal approximately 2,500 miles while his father, Chris, follows him in a car. A few times during the trip Chris has driven ahead and rode a bike back to Corey's destination in order to ride a few miles with his son. The pair left San Diego on January 5 and have an approximate arrival date at Ft. Bragg in early April.
The two are continuing their journey taking mostly back highways to reach their destination. Corey says they are pushing hard right now so they are averaging approximately 35 miles a day.
"We have hit everything from snow to rain so far," Corey said. "We do our best to stay on track."
Both Chris and Corey served and retired from the Army. As a former athlete, Corey decided he wanted to give himself the ultimate challenge by biking across the country. With his father also being a great advocate of helping others, he decided to join him. Corey rides four days a week and rests the other three which gives him an opportunity to meet people and tell them about the mission.
"When he got out of the service, he wanted to do something specifically to help vets," Chris said. "He talked to me about it and I immediately knew I wanted to help him as his support vehicle. It has been an amazing experience for the both of us."
Though Chris and Corey are both veterans, Corey says that there are many non-veterans who volunteer to help with Mission 22.
"The biggest thing about Mission 22 is that it is volunteer based," Corey said. "There are so many people across the country that say hey, I really want to help support the military and get the word about what's going on with our vets. We are all focused on joining together to fight the war against veteran suicide."
For more information about their journey, you can visit their blog at campahedu.com or their Facebook page at Decker-The Ride. You can also visit the Mission 22 site at www.mission22.com.