INTERVIEW: Injured veterans travel cross-country

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A group of men and women, many of them injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, are about to wrap up an incredible cross-country journey. Members of the "Sea to Shining Sea" project arrived in Richmond earlier today. They're trying to raise awareness for their fellow veterans who may be injured or disabled. Kevin Sullivan, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq, is taking part in this tremendous cross-country trip. We talked to him last week from Pittsburgh and we're glad to have him here in our studio. Kevin, describe your journey so far. What kind of reception are you receiving?

Kevin Sullivan: It's been an amazing trip. We started at San Francisco and have made our way across three mountain ranges and in a few days we will be arriving at Virginia Beach, so we're really excited about it. The reception we've got from people, from one end of the country to the other, has been fantastic. People have been out with American flags, State Farm Agents set up water stops, and receptions and dinners, and all sorts of great events for us on the way.

Diane Walker: So people are cheering you as you enter their localities.

Kevin Sullivan:

Diane Walker: I know you're passionate about this or else you wouldn't and part of it, but tell us what the personal motivation is that got you to participate. You were injured in war?

Kevin Sullivan: That's correct. I was diagnosed with PTSD and one of the big things or messages that I wanted to get across was that not all injuries are seen. Some of them, you live with quietly, and it wasn't so much as something that I will get out of the journey. It was more or less helping other people face PTSD or any sort of mental illness or any issues they're having and perhaps go out there and seek help.

Diane Walker: And PTSD, you're talking about Post Traumatic --

Kevin Sullivan: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was a flyer and after my diagnosis, I wasn't able to fly anymore.

Diane Walker: We're sorry to hear that, unfortunate. Now, when you are participating in this, the goal is commendable, absolutely, no doubt, but what are you trying to achieve and is there a dollar amount? Are there certain groups you're trying to help across the country? What's your goal?

Kevin Sullivan: There's all sorts of different groups that are benefitting from this. I mean, if you ask any of the riders, you're going to get a different answer for each of them what this ride means to them. I think the overall meaning might come months down the road when we're at home, maybe Christmas when we look back and say, wow, this is what we did and this is what we accomplished. You can go to the website and see the different causes that people riding for, the different stories of each of the riders. If folks come out to the various stops that we have along the way, tomorrow being Yorktown and then, of course, Virginia Beach on Saturday --

Diane Walker: Just about to wrap up.

Kevin Sullivan: That's right.

Diane Walker: Not very far. That must be an incentive.

Kevin Sullivan: Unbelievable. But State Farm has these banners you can go out and sign and they will donate a dollar to making veterans' lives better. That's all different things being accomplished with this ride.

Diane Walker: Excellent. Thank so much for joining us.

Kevin Sullivan: Thank you for having me.

See the video at right for the full interview. 

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