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Wounded Marine finishes ride across America

ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A wounded Marine is getting some much-needed rest after a 63-day journey across America.

Toran Gaal set out from San Diego on a hand bike back in June and crossed the finish line at the Iwo Jima memorial Sunday morning.

Four years ago Gaal lost both of his legs to an IED in Afghanistan. He awoke two months later and began a very long journey and finished it with cheers and hugs from those who fought beside him in Afghanistan and back home.

"There's no words that you could even put in place to explain how proud anyone could be of Gaal right now," Rian Martinez, who served alongside Gaal in Afghanistan.

Back in June, Gaal set out across the country on his handbike- covering just a few miles an hour. He rode in daylight and darkness, across the plains of Kansas, and through Rocky mountain passes, traveling 3,800 miles on his journey.

We don't ever get to appreciate what America really is. And to go through these small towns, big cities and really just see the patriotism really warmed my heart," Gaal said.

The goal was to raise $40,000 dollars over the journey for the Semper Fi fund, the same organization that helped him get through his painful recovery.


Gaal raised $42,000 and finished his ride two days ahead of his original 65-day target.

Alone on the road except for a fellow veteran in a support vehicle, Gaal had a lot of time to think.

"I think the biggest thing that made me go is my family, and I didn't want at any time for any moment to quit, because I wanted to be an inspiration for my family," Gaal said.

After the ride Gaal had one stop left on his journey. He went to Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath for all those journey's ended before the road brought them back home.

You can find out more about the Semper Fi Fund here.

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