Many veterans and active-duty personnel struggle each day, believing that there is no future for them. Geoff Speyrer had no idea he’d one day become a champion for delivering hope and knowledge to individuals who had never had a shot in the first place.
To illustrate that there is help and hope, Geoff Speyrer is raising money for HPW (Healing Paws for Warriors) via his physical endurance, which is no minor effort given that he was injured while serving in the military by coming into contact with improvised explosive devices.
Geoff Speyrer, a Destin resident and Army veteran, raised awareness and funds for veteran suicide prevention by completing a difficult 24-hour physical challenge for the third consecutive year.
SET 22 is the name of the physical challenge event (Strength, Endurance, and Training). There are 22, according to Speyrer, veterans who commit suicide on a daily basis, as reported in Stars and Stripes.
Speyrer and his partner bikers Sean Kamm and Kathleen Carrier rode 100 miles in four circles around Destin and Scenic Highway 98 starting at 12:01 local time.
He and around a dozen other runners set off at two days later noon to complete a 26.2-mile marathon around Destin, Florida.
Finally, Speyrer stepped to the track at Destin Elementary School at 9:00 P.M and was cheered on as he flipped a 200-pound tractor tire for 1 mile in the dark. He was accompanied by 25 to 30 people who cheered him on. Saturday night, he completed the task at around 10:45pm.
“Why do you put yourself through this?” is a common question. Speyrer had a grin on his face: “I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no hope. It’s all about giving back hope to these men and women who suffered.”
Speyrer owes much of the event’s success to sponsors, supporters, fellow athletes from the community, and runners from various organizations that joined him.
To paraphrase Speyrer, “This wasn’t a me thing, we had people coming in from the Midwest, the East Coast, the West Coast,” he said.
HPW, a local veteran-founded group that trains service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or military sexual trauma, has earned roughly $12,000 so far thanks to all of these efforts.
Healing Paws for Warriors co-founder Sheila Hale said, “We’re unable to run this program unless we get community support through donations, fundraisers… so we’re very thankful for this opportunity.”
“Geoff is an example of a veteran giving back, pulling the community together and making a difference,” Hale said in a statement.
It took Speyrer around three hours longer to ride his bike this year because of strong winds. However, he says he aims to make next year’s challenge even greater.
“This is just the beginning, It’s just going to get bigger and bigger,” Speyrer concluded.