New York City, NY- A San Diego man has arrived in New York City after riding his bicycle over 3,000 miles across the United States in honor of military kids who have lost a parent in the line of duty.
Ryan Lee Gehris’ mission of ‘Pedaling for Pattie’ began in April when he departed from Ocean Beach on his beach cruiser. Since then, he has endured grueling conditions on his cross-country bicycle ride, but says it is a walk in the park compared to what soldiers and surviving military families go through. “Every time I felt tired or as if I couldn’t go any further, I thought about the sacrifice soldiers and their families make.”
Ryan’s mom, Pattie Stein, lost her dad when she was just 14 years old. He was killed while serving in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. As a young boy, Ryan grew up hearing stories about his grandfather, Leon ‘Lee’ Charles Stein. Ever since, he’s been an advocate for Gold Star families.
“It’s been a spiritual journey, and very inspiring. The people in this country are amazing,” Ryan explained. “Complete strangers have reached out to help me. ” he added. Ryan has also received support from VFW posts from across the country.
The beach cruiser Ryan used to pedal across the USA was adorned with the American flag that was draped over his grandfather's coffin when he was killed. His bicycle weighed approximately 85 pounds once loaded up with gear, and only endured three flat tires along the way.
Ryan has been fundraising on behalf of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which helps provide college scholarships and educational counseling to all students who have lost a parent in the line of duty. He’s been asking for a suggested donation of $22, to represent the number of veterans who take their lives every day.