Veteran passes through Carbondale on Ride Across America

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A veteran on a Ride Across America passed through Carbondale, Illinois on Tuesday, June 30.

Toran Gaal set out on a solo Ride Across America on June 1, departing from San Diego, Calif. the destination being Arlington at the Iwo Jima and Marine Corps Memorial on Aug. 2.

Once the ride is finished, he will place the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Gaal is accompanied by a support vehicle driven by Brian Riley.

Gaal and Riley are both combat injured Marine Corps veterans and Purple Heart recipients.

Toran was injured on June 26, 2011 in Afghanistan and as a result lost both legs, a hip, part of his pelvis and suffered a severe brain injury. He will not be on an upright cycle, but instead will make the entire trip on a hand-cycle.

Gaal said it's been quite journey; and said because of his fiance, friends and family, he's able to keep going and he wants others to know that no matter what, anything is possible.

“If I could sum it up in a quote it is that the only limits we set are the ones we set on ourselves," Gaal said. "Because you are your biggest critic. And if you believe you can do it, you can achieve.”

Gaal said he is only doing this once and intends to become a motivational speaker, uplifting people to push through any obstacle they may be going through.

"If you have a dream, continue to follow it because you're the only person that can stop you," Gaal said.

In the months and years post injury, the Semper Fi Fund helped Gaal's family with things like travel and accommodations while they visited him at various VA hospitals. In an effort to give back, Gaal is doing the more than 3,800 mile ride to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund so they can continue to help families of fallen, injured and ill service members.

The ride is an estimated 63-day adventure.

Gaal and Riley are headed to Berea, Kentucky next.

You can click here for more information and/or to donate to the Semper Fi Fund.

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