Tracy Sefcik has a lot of memories from her 15 years of service in the Navy, but her next challenge will be on land.
Sefcik has been training to complete a two-month bicycle ride across the United States to help raise money for veterans. The Wheeling-native will begin her journey in San Diego, and will ultimately pedal 3100 miles across America to complete the Herculean task.
The Navy veteran is looking to raise $25,000 for the Gary Sinise Foundation, which helps create programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, and strengthen veterans.
“I felt that Lieutenant Dan was the man for me,” she said, hearkening back to Sinise’s iconic role in the film “Forrest Gump.”
At the Chicago Auto Show in February, Sefcik set up a booth to help raise funds for her ride, with every shot taken at a basketball hoop helping her get closer to her goal.
“People will just hand me five or ten bucks, and make online donations and stuff like that, so it’s a great feeling,” she said.
Her journey will start in the shadow of the USS Midway in San Diego, which for years was the largest ship in the world.
“It’s more than a ship. I used to wake up next to her every day,” Sefcik said. “It’s going to be emotional seeing the ship, riding across the flight deck, and starting my journey for my brothers and sisters on that boat.”
Her trip will end in Saint Augustine, Florida, but she knows the long days and gruelling schedule will be worth it in the end.
“One thing I was taught in the Navy is never give up, and once you start you never stop,” she said. “Keep moving forward and keep pushing because you’ve got to make it. You’ve got to make it to the end.”