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Veteran taking cross country bike trip to raise awareness for mental health

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- One Marine Corp veteran is raising awareness and support for the Wounded Warrior Project in a big way.

Nick Novotny is riding his bike 4,000 miles across the country from Tillamook, Oregon to Glenside, Pennsylvania. He's following the TransAmerica bicycle routes.

"I’m going to modify it in Kentucky. I’m hopping on the Underground Railroad trail that goes up to Columbus, Ohio then I'm taking the Chicago to New York alternate route and that's going to take me across and under Pennsylvania through Philly and then to the coast," said Novotny.

The cross country big ride is to raise to support the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit founded in 2003 to help veterans and service members who suffered a physical or mental injury or illness while serving in the military after September 11, 2001.

Novotny is also riding for his friend Cpl. James Currie, someone who had a lasting impact on his life after serving in the Marine Corps for six years.

"He was like a marine's marine, but also in the same light he was unlike a lot of marines he didn’t really have this huge ego or huge I have to be in charge, he was just a nice genuine guy," said Novotny.

In May of 2020, James died after losing his battle with mental health issues.

"He was too afraid to seek help because he was afraid of command backlash, and that shouldn’t be the environment for anyone, military or not," said Novotny.

During the ride, Novotny wants to raise money for James' family, the Wounded Warrior Project, and bring awareness to the lack of mental health resources.

"I think a lot of it comes down to access to third-party programs. I think there is a stigma especially for marines, I can tell you now marines have a chip on their shoulder, and they don’t want to try to admit to their problems and they’re afraid to get help," said Novotny.

Nick leaves Manitou Springs on Wednesday and gets back on the trail in Pueblo. He started on June 25 and hopes to reach Pennsylvania for a celebration of life for James on Labor Day.

You can follow on long on his journey through Facebook and Instagram. More information on his ride can be found here.

Learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project here.

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Jessica Gruenling

Jessica is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about her here.

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