John Tate and his dog Jax passed through Crestview on their way to Ponte Vedra Beach.
CRESTVIEW — John Tate and his dog, Jax, recently biked across the country to bring awareness to a cause close to his heart.
Tate, who passed through Crestview recently, started a 3,500-mile trek from Oregon more than two months ago. His destination was the K9s for Warriors training school in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The organization rescues dogs that are then trained to be service dogs.
According to its website, K9s for Warriors is “the nation’s largest provider of service dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post-9/11.”
“It’s such a good cause,” Tate said. “With the rate of veteran suicide exceeding casualties in battle, this is the best way to prevent that, and I firmly believe in it.”
Tate said helping the cause is a two-in-one proposition for him.
“I’ve had dogs all my life, so I’m all about the dogs,” Tate said.
“I have lots of veterans and active-duty military in my life as well, and they give a lot,” he said.
Showing support to the military, especially veterans in need, is very important to Tate.
“Sometimes these people come home and feel forgotten or don’t feel connected to others,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out there like me that have their backs and I want to demonstrate that.”
Tate said bicycling seemed like the best way for him to show support.
“I’ve cycled for many years so ... I’m doing that,” he said.
Tate has a dog trailer attached to his bicycle for Jax to lie in as they make their journey.
“Jax goes everywhere I go,” he said.
According to Tate, having a service dog proves to be very effective for veterans.
“The VA tries to help them with the best drugs they have, but it’s not that successful,” Tate said. “Give them one of these dogs, they go off the drugs and they’re back in school, getting a job or just back with their families, and they come out of the house that they trapped themselves in.”
For more information, visit www.RollingWithJax.com or the Rolling with Jax Facebook page.