22 States in 22 Days

CHARITY RIDE, by Edward Arriaza, Assistant Editor

Suicide Prevention Ride

With each war waged there emerges a specter that quietly haunts the nation. It is a hushed nightmare veteran communities are all too familiar with: The nightmare of readjustment. Soldiers who engage in combat and witness acts of violence are likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Even with numerous therapy sessions and a supportive network of friends and family, soldiers coming home can have immense difficulty reacclimating to civilian life while also tackling their PTSD, especially if brought about from long and strenuous tours of duty. Those who suffer from this “shell shock” will sometimes develop suicidal ideation, a severe condition to deal with alone, which, if left unchecked, can lead some to succumb to their dark thoughts. Such was nearly the case for riding enthusiast and Army veteran Tim Fure.

Tim served his country for six and a half years including a 15-month tour at Camp Taji in Iraq. He was medically discharged in 2012 and sent back to central Minnesota, where he waged another years-long war, this time with his own depression and suicidal thoughts. He nearly lost the battle. On February 2018, Tim attempted suicide when he put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. The pistol jammed.

Suicide is not the answer. It’s a “common sense” statement said with earnestness, but for many veterans waging battles against PTSD, this is not easily realized when their demons nearly get the best of them. So how does one convey this sentiment to those afflicted with wartime trauma to make them feel understood, that they are not alone? There are ways to attain and spread this feeling. Upon realizing what almost happened that fateful day in February, Tim came to his senses and vowed to proactively improve his situation. But rather than just keep this stroke-of-luck epiphany to himself, praying that others like him would get the help they needed, Tim sought to help his brothers and sisters in arms along his healing process. This moment of clarity resulted in a vision of a riding journey.

On June 10th, 2020, Tim will be departing his home state of Minnesota to start the 22 ride, so called because Tim will be riding his 1990 Harley FLHS Electra Glide Sport across 22 states in 22 days. Along the way, Tim will speak with fellow veterans in VA hospitals and make stops in motorcycle shops, VFWs, American legions, and other spots potentially receptive to his story. In addition to spreading awareness about this epidemic and speaking with veterans suffering from suicidal ideation, Tim’s 22 ride will raise funds for Mission 22, a national, nonprofit veteran suicide prevention group.

This journey is just as much for Tim as it is for veterans grappling with PTSD and depression. “If I can save just one person from going over the edge,” Tim states, “all the work and miles I will put in will be worth it.”