About Operation Pedal 4 Vets

Follow my journey of raising awareness and funds for The Boot Campaign as I train to ride my bicycle on RAGBRAI (400+ miles across the state of Iowa) while wearing combat boots!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Boot Campaign

I want to keep reminding people about where their generous donation are going. The nonprofit that will be receiving the donations from my Op is the Boot Campaign.

The Boot Campaign is an organization that supports veterans and their families as well as partners with other veterans organizations to provide support in housing, job assistance, veteran wellness, urgent assistance, and family support.

Read more about the Boot Campaign on their website: http://www.bootcampaign.com/about/

My fundraising goal is $4,180 (RAGBRAI is 418 miles this year). The Boot Campaign has some pretty impressive celebrity supporters and I know my 'Op' is very small compared to the national events and attention they can gain. However, I feel my fundraising goal will be going to something good and I hope at the very least I can raise awareness and show veterans that they have people that care!

I hope you can support the cause by donating. If you aren't able to donate, consider sharing this blog with others.

Thanks for the support!


There is a donation link on the side of the blog or you can donate by using this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/oppedal4vets/fundraiser/laceyh

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Service Member Spotlight - Joel

I've known Joel for many years; he was actually one of the first veterans that I had met of our generation that had been deployed. Thank you Joel for taking the time to answer my questions and for serving our country!

Military Branch: Army

Tours: Afghanistan 2004-2005

What do your boots mean to you? My boots mean a lot to me. I have a lot of different pairs of combat boots and there are a couple pairs that represent much more than just another pair of boots. I have two pairs in particular that I'll never get rid of because they are a symbol of  what I have been through. I have one pair that I wore for the majority of Afghanistan and I still have them tucked away somewhere, cracked leather, worn sole and all. I have another favorite pair that I have worn for the past number of years training stateside, until recently retiring them from wearing the sole down too much.

Do you still wear your boots? I do still wear my boots for training because I am still active in the Army National Guard. I do still have a pair of black combat boots from before we switched uniforms, and I will wear those once in a while for motorcycling etc.

Tips or tricks for breaking in the boots: The best tip that I can give for breaking in your boots is to get them wet and wear them all day long until they dry. This especially works well if your boots are tight on your feet. You might want to change socks a couple times during the day if you do this trick.

Suggestions / advice for me for getting through the tough times during RAGBRAI? RAGBRAI will be a challenge and I'm impressed with anyone that goes the full distance.  My best advice for getting through the tough times is to keep pushing. If in your mind you know you can do it, then that's the majority of the battle accomplished. Drink lots of Gatorade and water, and eat lots of carbs! P.S. beer has carbs too

What should civilians know about how to support veterans? I think one thing that civilians should know about how to support veterans is that we all have families. It is just as important to support our families as it is to support us individually. If a soldier's family is taken care of, it alleviates a lot of stress while a soldier is deployed and helps them perform their job better.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The 'WHY' Question

There have been some people that have asked me why I am doing this campaign. A simple answer is: I have always been patriotic. My father is a Vietnam veteran that served in the Marine Corps. He taught my brothers and I respect for our country, for our flag and for our service members.

The more complicated answer is that, the more I met veterans, the more effort I put into learning about the people that serve and the challenges they face and overcome. What I truly learned was that unless I served, I will never understand.

They sign on a dotted line, pledging their life for our country, and pledging to protect and defend complete strangers.

They forge a bond with their brothers and sisters in arms that have become closer than blood, all while trying to maintain a relationship and family back home thousands of miles away.

They experience difficulties of buying a first home because they might not have the credit or 'stable job' to be approved for a loan.

They serve honorably with years of experience, just to be told they're overqualified and disqualified for a job because they didn't take the 'traditional' route of going to college and having a degree.

They have to sometimes feel that the country they love doesn’t want to hear about the wars. They feel strangers stare at their scars, yet they do not know a larger truth: not all scars are visible.

Veterans will tell you why THEY do it: “It’s my job”... “It’s my calling”... “I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps”.

I guess I could say that supporting veterans is MY calling, my job, my way of honoring the footsteps my father and all service members before and after him took.

Operation Pedal 4 Vets is my way of doing this. I'm honored to be raising funds for the Boot Campaign, which provides assistance to those individuals that bravely volunteer so the rest of us never have to. We may never be able to fully understand what it's like to serve, but I hope in our efforts together, veterans will always understand that they are supported!

"When they come back, we give back."

Operation Pedal 4 Vets Fundraising Page: https://www.crowdrise.com/oppedal4vets/fundraiser/laceyh

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Service Member Spotlight - James

James took time out of his flight training to answer a few questions for me. Thank you for your service James and for helping put a face to the reason why I'm getting my boots on!

Military branch / term of service: Army National Guard, 10 years of service.

Tour(s): Iraq ’10-’11

What do your boots mean to you? My boots are actually one of my most prized pieces of gear. Boots truly do decide your comfort level and moral more than anything else in a lot of situations. Choosing the right kind of boots for the environment you're going to find yourself in is extremely important if you don't want to be in pain.

I love wearing combat boots, which is why I still wear my old black jungle boots for riding my motorcycle. Sometimes even when I'm not.

Boots are also extremely symbolic. There's a reason a lot of soldiers memorials have a set of combat boots, a rifle and a Kevlar. As long as a soldier has good boots, a functional rifle, and a good helmet, they can basically accomplish anything.

Soldiers in the older wars owed their survival to having good boots in a lot of ways. Keeping your feet warm and dry is an extremely important part of maintaining a soldiers ability to operate in all climates.

Do you still wear your boots? I wear my boots everyday! I use my old black ones when I'm riding my motorcycle, most comfortable footwear I own! I have to wear flight approved boots, which I do not suggest, as they're very heavy and not very flexible. I'm sure they'd be terrible for riding a bike.

Tips or tricks for breaking in the boots: As far as breaking them in, just comes from wearing them. No real secret to it honestly. Best advice I could give would be to buy the boots 2 or 3 weeks prior if possible, and just wear them around as much as you can. Also, buy some waterproofing spray and give them a couple nice doses of that while you're at it.

Suggestions / advice for getting through the tough times during RAGBRAI? To be honest, when I come to a situation like that, I just convince myself that I literally can't stop. It's not an option.

What should civilians know about how to support veterans? Just trust us....have patience. It's hard to adjust back, and we make mistakes just like anyone else. In the end, we just want to know that there's someone at home who loves us as much as we love them.

It's harder because so much happens over there that nobody at home can relate to. We do still love though, and we do still want the same things other people strive for. We're just generally more passionate about it because we've all come close to losing everything.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Charity Challenge

I am very honored to announce that Operation Pedal 4 Vets was selected as a finalist in the Juice Magazine Charity Challenge!

They will be judging four teams of young professionals on their events to benefit non-profits. Two other teams are also doing race type events but I feel that this Op is a little different than the normal race. Hopefully that will give me an edge!

You can read the announcement and the information about the other teams in this article: http://dmjuice.com/and-the-juice-charity-challenge-participants-are/.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Recently, I promoted Operation Pedal 4 Vets to my social media networks. 

I. Was. Terrified. 

At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was so nervous. I had great support from those that were already aware of the campaign and I knew that I was trying to do a good thing. Still, my heart was beating a mile a minute as I hit that ‘share’ button. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have had those same nerves before when I’ve seen service members in public. I wanted to thank them for their service or even buy their coffee or lunch. Sometimes I’d hesitate because I didn’t want to embarrass them, or interrupt their meal or say the wrong thing (which I’m notorious for). Then before I could do anything, the moment of opportunity had passed. I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling of this missed opportunity. Our hearts and our minds are in the right place, but we hesitate on our actions. 

If you’ve been hesitating to share this page or to donate or to thank a service member, please take that step, I know I’m glad I did!

Again, I’m very grateful for the outpouring of support and kindness that I have received so far. Please know the encouragement has greatly helped calm my nerves, and I can’t wait to use that positive energy to bike across Iowa!!