MADISON, Wis. - Four-year town of Madison firefighter and paramedic Jeff Moore made it his mission last year to visit every fire department in Dane County on his bike. This year he went a step further and is now biking across the country, visiting fire departments along the way, all in an effort to raise money for fallen firefighters.
"I thought he was crazy. That's a long way to go for one person," town of Madison Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Wright said.
Moore started his 4,400-mile journey 39 days ago on his bike, traveling from San Francisco to New York with two specific goals in mind.
"The first goal is that I wanted to honor, respect and remember all fallen firefighters. The second, I wanted to promote a positive for the American fire service," Moore said.
Four weeks into his journey, he has been housed by local fire houses at every stop. But for Moore, this trip is not only to raise money, it's also a journey of self-discovery.
"It's just something where I can have a better appreciation for the fire service and what firefighters do and this idea of community and fire service family," he said.
Firefighters across the country have joined him along the way, riding beside him in solidarity. On Saturday, two firefighters from his own department joined in, riding 45 miles from Dodgeville to Madison.
"When I was asked to do this, I said that's too far. I've never done that before. So, it was a challenge for me. I feel really good. I'm glad I did it," Wright said.
Wright said the sense of accomplishment goes toward a great cause, but also hits close to home.
"These are people that are doing the same job as I am and lose their life in the line of duty, and it could happen to anybody here," he said.
Moore will end his cross-country trek at the Sept. 11 Memorial on Sept. 11, as a final tribute to his family of service men and women that have gone before him.
"I think for a lot of firefighters that go and check out that Trade Center site, it is something that's really emotional and that was a big deal for the country, but also for the fire service," Moore said. "But having taken in all the experiences of actually biking from the West Coast to the East Coast to see that, I think will enhance that and really I don't know what to expect."
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