HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The sobering statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide, each day, has prompted a Houston-area veteran to bring awareness, and help, to the problem.
It'll be the greatest physical challenge of his life.
Kip Othold, 67, is newly retired, and has developed a taste for long and slow bike rides.
"I ride as fast as a tortoise through peanut butter," says Othold.
The Air Force veteran was looking for an adventure, and found a bike tour that would bring awareness to the troubling trend of veteran suicides.
The Save-22-a-Day Bike Tour starts off from San Diego on April 1 for a 3,100-mile trek across the country.
It will take 45 days for the riders to make the trip to St. Augustine, Florida.
Each of the registered riders have made a modest charitable donation to an organization that helps vets.
But, like his taste for big rides, Othold's idea of a "donation" was also big.
His fundraising has topped $50,000 for the Houston charity "PAWS for Heroes."
The group trains carefully-selected shelter dogs as comfort companions for veterans with PTSD.
As many as eight dogs will be paired with veterans, because of the donation.
"Kip has the biggest heart of any person I've ever met," says PAWS for Heroes' Jan Potts.
But first, Kip has to make the ride.
The group will average 65-70 miles a day and roll through Austin, La Grange and Cleveland by the end of April.
"I didn't serve in a combat role, so it's my blood, sweat and tears that I'm gonna be doing on these 45 days," says Othold. "It's appreciation for what they've gone through."
You can follow Kip Othold's adventure by liking the 'PAWS for Heroes' Facebook page, where he'll offer updates on his progress across the country.