Army veteran rides to DC in trek for homeless veterans, those with PTSD

A U.S. Army veteran is using his own blood, sweat and tears to help veterans who are experiencing homelessness and suffering from PTSD. He is using pedal power to do it.

Ricky Folse began his bicycle trek in Louisiana, and he was bound for Key West. After that, he is ultimate goal and destination is Washington D.C.

Folse made a pitstop in Fort Myers, where we spoke to him about his journey.

Folse is a man on a mission. He decided to ride his bike from to our nation’s capital to shine a light on the struggle homeless veterans face.

“To see veterans live in homeless, living in tents, living under bridges, being denied and delayed on getting their benefits because of paperwork until they give up and shut themselves in their houses, until they die or until they basically give up on life is unacceptable,” Folse said.

What Folse describes is what happened to the homeless at Centennial Park ark less than a year ago, as they were forced to leave.

“When they try to deal with it on their own, it catches up to them, and we end up losing them,” Folse said. “We shouldn’t lose those who fought for this country.”

What Folse describes is personal.

“In the last year, I lost two very close friends to PTSD,” Folse said. “One of them passed away Memorial Day last year, and that’s when I got the fire in me, but I want to do something for our veterans.”

Folse rides his bike rain or shine, spreading awareness as his goes raising money for homeless veterans through donations.

In Fort Myers, he wants more people to know about nonprofit Hearts and Homes for Veterans.

“We all know that the veterans, the veterans, the veterans need help,” nonprofit director David Santini said. “It’s not because they want it; it’s because they need it.”

Folse originally set out for Key West. That’s why he peddled through Fort Myers.

But thanks to all the support, Folse is on his way to D.C.

“They say, in order to make things happen in this country, we have to take it to the capital,” Folse said. “So I’m going to bring it to their doorstep.”

Folse said he’s not on a strict timeline to get to Washington D.C. That’s because he says he wants to meet with as many veterans as possible along the way.

Keep up with Folse on his journey by visiting his Facebook page, Rick Fit.

Reporter:Taylor Wirtz
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.