Man’s journey to help veterans takes him coast to coast
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Veterans and motorcycles are two things Adam Sandoval loves. He bridged those two passions to help those who served.
Sandoval always wanted to serve in the military, but he never went down that pass.
His choice not to enlist has allowed him to have an impact on those who did.
“This is just kind of my way of going back and serving those who served, right?” says Sandoval. “I kind of coined a term, “If you did not serve in the military, find time to serve those who did.”
He came up with the idea for the Great American Convoy where he rides across the country stopping at Harley Davidson stores while raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
He has logged a lot of miles on the road.
“I built my first campaign, which was an 88,000-mile road trip,” recalls Sandoval. “I road coast to coast 14 times. Every single day raising money for our veterans, and it just never stopped.”
As his campaign grew, so did the number of people wanting to join him.
“I am the motorcycle version of Forrest Gump,” Sandoval says. “I am riding around the country and people are just joining me wherever I am. For a day, for a week, for a month, for an hour, whatever they can give in time. They come and they join me, they make a donation. We are raising all the money for the Wounded Warrior Project and then they leave when they have to leave.”
The journey to get the campaign where it is today has not always been easy for Sandoval.
“You know, my first five years doing this I lived homeless,” he explains. “I lived off my bike, rode every day, and raised money for veterans.”
In those difficult early years, one encounter made him realize what he was doing was too important for him to give up.
“It would have been a Gold Star mother who lost her son,” Sandoval recalls. “Early in my travels, I would show up and nobody would show up. I would stand at a dealership and there might be two or three people that would show up. And I would stand there for an hour talking to people about the need for awareness and to raise money for veterans and this lady showed up on a day that nobody else showed up for me. And she cried to me talking about her son. And how she gave her son to this country. And she had a bike painted about him in his memory and how she rides that and that’s her way of remembering her son and that the need is there. And that lady really touched my heart at a time I felt really defeated. Because no one was supporting me or supporting what I was doing. And she let me know that even if one person shows up, even if one person shows up it matters.”
When the convoy ended, Sandoval was able to reach his goal of raising more than $500,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
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