PONTE VEDRA, Fla. — From Oregon to Northeast Florida, John Tate biked across the country with his dog, Jax to honor veterans. Along the way, their efforts reached thousands and will now change the life of a local veteran.
“It was very emotional, riding those last couple of miles, it was hard to believe that I’m actually here,” Tate said.
Tate’s mission begian April 10 in his hometown of Portland, Organ. Nearly every day, he would bike with his dog from city to city, visiting different veteran memorials. After three months, they finished in Ponte Vedra Beach, welcomed by the K9 for Warriors organization.
“Some random, regular person, not from a military family, who very much appreciates and supports what they do," Tate said. "The sacrifices that our warriors have made for us, and the beautiful work K9 for Warriors does to help them get back into life."
Tate kept an online journey of his mission, from start to finished. Read his blog
As he gained more attention in each state, he started raising money for K9 for Warriors, the nation’s largest service dog provider for post Sept. 11, 2001, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
His mission raised more than $20,000 that will go toward training a service dog for a veteran in the program.
“It teaches you to put your attention on something else besides what you’re already dealing with as far as a disability,” K9 for Warriors trainer William Stump said. “You can take the focus off yourself and put it on your dog, it’s an outlet. It helps to relieve a lot of what’s going on.”
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