Bikers ride coast to coast to honor fallen soldiers

(WJHG)
Published: Sep. 5, 2016 at 9:34 PM CDT
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After Cris Valley watched his fellow soldier and friend die, he and another soldier vowed to ride their bikes coast to coast in memory of their friend once they returned from their tour in Iraq, and they did just that, going on three times.

One group of bikers is traveling 4,000 miles. They all come from different places, but they all ride for the same reason

"Me and my friend Jason, while we were deployed to Northern Iraq, came up with this idea to ride my motorcycle from California to Arlington National Cemetery to share the stories of Ryan," said Cris Valley, the Founder of Coast x Coast Foundation.

Ryan Savard was shot and killed while serving with Valley overseas in Iraq.

"I ended up witnessing Ryan Savard's dying breath and because of his warrior spirit I was moved to do something," said Valley.

Coast x Coast started out as a way for two soldiers to honor their fallen brother, but it grew into a charity that's helping families from across the country to heal.

"When you lose someone to the war like I lost my husband and these guys have lost friends, teammates. It's hard to come back from and I don't think you ever really fully do," said Alexandra McClintock.

McClintock lost her husband in January.

"Finding people that share that same bond and do everything they can to support you and finding that all the way across the nation and doing what we can to spread that has been the most moving and healing experience that I could really imagine," said McClintock.

Although many of them started out as strangers.

"I didn't know maybe just one or two of them, but now it's almost like a family that's been created with these nine or ten people and that's an experience that's priceless," said Bob Keiser, who lost his stepson.

They've formed bonds that stretch from coast to coast.

This is Coast x Coast's third cross country ride. Their goal is to raise $45,000. All of that money goes to SOF Health Care Initiative. Their mission is to raise awareness and money for veteran issues like, traumatic brain injuries, depression, and suicide.

If you'd like to donate to their cause visit www.coastxcoast.org.