Man passes through Binghamton on 4,000-mile journey, raising money for veteran service animals

Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 7:51 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- In 2019, the founder of Doggie Paddle for Veterans, Jimmy Thomas, rode his bike from the coast of Oregon back to his Albany-area home in order to raise money and awareness for veterans in need of service dogs.

This year, in search of a more significant challenge, Thomas started in a kayak on the Hudson River and paddled down to Key West, Florida. Once he reached Key West, he got on his bike and began the 2,000-mile ride home.

The cause is important to Thomas because after suffering from PTSD and seizures, he needed a service dog of his own. Thomas said his service dog helped him keep safe by alerting him as to when he was going to have a seizure. After seeing how much his service dog helped him, he wanted to help others acquire service dogs of their own.

“I made sure I could help by raising money and doing the craziest thing I could think of,” Thomas said.

Thomas said that the journey has been a lot harder than he expected it to be. He said the hardest part is keeping himself together mentally.

He attributes being able to push himself while on this journey to something from his childhood.

“My mom used to make me stand in front of the mirror and say you’re not a quitter until I believed it,” said Thomas.

Throughout his journey, Thomas has been hosted and assisted by Rotary clubs throughout the country. His journey is sponsored by his local Rotary club, Glenville Rotary.

Thomas will arrive back in Glenville, New York on February 4th -- ending his journey that has been several months in the making.

You can visit Thomas’ website to follow along with his journey, learn more information, or make a donation to the cause.