FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - This morning, the town of Fort Valley played host to two American heroes.
The Iraqi War veterans are biking across the country, bringing their message of hope to 15 states to raise awareness for veteran suicide.
War veteran and former NFL star Jeremy Staat and double amputee veteran Wesley Barrientos are biking from the Wall of Valor in Bakerside, California, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
The mission of the ride is simple: Raise awareness for veteran suicide.
"Right now, statistically speaking, every 80 minutes a veteran takes his or her life," said Staat.
Staat and Barrientos also want to draw attention to the increase of childhood obesity across our country.
"The big thing, especially for our youth, is to get their education, and the other thing too is to get off reality TV and video games and get out there and be active," said Staat. "Right now, numbers speaking, they're saying 80% of our youth is unfit for military service, which is actually a national threat to security."
Staat started training for the ride last September to prepare himself for the challenges he would face along the way, and although he is an American hero, he is still human.
"I've put in the hours, the miles on this bike, to make sure I accomplish this mission, and to be honest with you, today we surpassed the 3,000 mile mark, and I'm tired," said an exhausted Staat, laughing.
Staat rode in to Fort Valley without his partner today. Barrientos dislocated his shoulder after a bike crash in Memphis last week, but he tells 41NBC that he hopes to be back on the road before the ride ends in Washington on May 28th.