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Colorado man, 75, bikes across the country to help fellow veterans

Bill Wallace served in the Army and wanted to raise awareness about vets who are struggling.

BERTHOUD, Colo. — A veteran from Berthoud is back home after he finished a cross-country bike ride at 75 years old.

Bill Wallace served in the Army, and wanted to raise awareness about vets who are struggling. 

"I hope maybe I could make a difference in some people's lives," he said.

Wallace wanted to help by doing something bold. He pedaled from California to New Jersey in less than 70 days. For over 3,000 miles, he encouraged others to donate to organizations that look out for vets. 

He began his trip in May and finished on July 7.

"Being a veteran, it bothered me just the number of veterans that are struggling," he said. "Perhaps through this ride I could raise funds to support veterans."

This ride was personal. He served during the Vietnam era -- a time when people didn't treat veterans very well. But on this trip, people across the country showed appreciation for his service and mission.

At one point, he said, he was waiting for a train to pass when a pickup truck pulled up behind him. The driver asked Wallace why he was riding, and Wallace told him the story.

"As the end of the train started coming and the gates went up, the guy reached in his wallet and pulled out a hundred dollar bill and said 'thanks for doing this,'" Wallace said.

Wallace asked supporters to donate to the organizations listed on his website. He hopes to see every dollar go toward groups that focus on seniors and mental health services. 

"When you see a veteran on the street and homeless and somewhere along the line that person served and served well," he said. 

Wallace said he was fortunate because he never saw combat. That gave him the motivation to give back to other vets, one pedal at a time.

RELATED: 9NEWS holds telethon for Rocky Mountain Honor Flight

RELATED: New Colorado group takes on suicide prevention for veterans through innovative therapies

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