KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Combat veterans left Key West Friday on their 1,600 mile journey to New York City on personal watercraft.
The veterans aboard the six personal watercraft plan to arrive in New York City on September 11 for the anniversary of 9/11 where they will be welcomed by New York City firefighters at Battery Park near Ground Zero.
The riders will travel up the eastern seaboard for approximately eight hours a day stopping for fuel and rider exchanges.
They will be accompanied by event founder and project leader Shawn Alladio.
“The ‘Never Quit Challenge’ is designed for veterans who are either active duty, disabled or former veterans to have an adventure ride similar to the challenges that they’re used to in training formats,” Alladio told the Florida Keys News Bureau.
The trek benefits three charities that assist military personnel, veterans and their families.
Among the riders are two above-the-knee double amputees including Navy SEAL Bo Reichenbach, who lost his legs in combat and has been fitted with prosthetics designed specifically for jet skiing.
Some of the participants include former members of an aviation regiment nicknamed the Night Stalkers, riding in honor of Turbine 33, a Chinook helicopter that was downed en route to rescue a team of Navy SEALS in Afghanistan. Eight Night Stalkers and eight SEALs on board were killed.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.