JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A California firefighter has biked more than 2,000 miles across the country to Jacksonville in honor of a fallen first responder.
Thomas Pitman is riding for the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness. It was named after fallen firefighter Cory Iverson who died in a California wildfire in 2017.
The mission of the foundation is to get support and counseling to first responders coping with stress and trauma.
“It’s not something you need to experience to know what it is," Pitman said. "It kind of sneaks up on you, you don’t even know that it’s coming."
Pitman was on the road for 36 days by himself but he found company from fellow firefighters along the way. He was escorted into town by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue cyclist.
“The people, it’s been unreal," Pitman said. "A very humbling experience, a great adventure.”
Jacksonville firefighters not only contributed camaraderie, but they also donated to the foundation.
Pitman said for any first responder – there is hope and help.
“You can’t see it, but you can feel it, but if you keep pushing and you don’t give up and you just take it one pedal stroke at a time, eventually you’ll get there,” Pitman said.
Pitman travels back to California on Feb. 6. He plans to rest for a few days before returning to his fire station the following week.