Kiersten Downs "takes the wheel."

Kiersten Downs “takes the wheel.”

Next Monday, if all goes as planned, student veteran Kiersten Downs will bike into Washington D.C. flanked by fellow veterans after a two-month journey across the U.S.

One Goal Met

Kiersten started with two goals June 2, 2013: raise awareness for Student Veterans of America; raise funds for the peer run organization.

She achieved her second goal first.

When a $400 donation came in Saturday, Kiersten hit the lofty goal of raising $50,000 for SVA.

Sunday, she cycled into Virginia – the last state before the joint ride into D.C.

Writing the Student Vet Narrative

As if those goals aren’t challenging enough, the University of South Florida doctoral student has taken on another task. To broaden her perspective and to start writing the “narrative” for student veterans.

Here’s a portion from her blog. Her proverbial first step in a journey of 1,000 miles or chapters as this case may be:

… I must emphasize something. We (veterans) are the narrators of our own history. If we do not take control over how the story is written, then it will be lost.

People ask me “why” all of the time. They ask me “why” would I ever want to ride my bike across the country. They say to me, “are you crazy or something?” I respond by staring them dead in the eye and say, “your crazy is my motivation”. I get one of two reactions. This either freaks some people out or it makes them laugh. I prefer the second response. Those are the people who get it. They are the ones who share my sense of adventure and always wish me good luck on the road. I have shared so many laughs on this trip with strangers. I live to laugh just like I live to dream.

I am going to attempt to bridge the gap between my personal narrative and the larger narrative of student veterans by answering, “the why” as I see it.