Wounded veteran nears end of cross-country trip

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTTG) -- A Marine Corps veteran who lost both legs in combat is wrapping up an incredible cross-country hand-cycle ride in the D.C. area.

Toran Gaal set out from Southern California on June 1 and made his way to Annapolis on Friday. He plans to end his trip on Sunday by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

"The last year and a half I've tried to distinguish myself and kind of move away from that wounded warrior aspect. I feel, in my way, it's a negative connotation toward us. We're wounded, but we're not out of a fight," Gaal said. "On Sunday, I'll conclude 3,800 miles. I didn't ever expect to be able to do this."

The 28-year-old was severely wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan four years ago. His mission has been to raise awareness about the plight of some of our nation's newest veterans.

"To showcase to everybody that anything is possible. When you have the right support around you, but also when you have the right heart and you know you're doing it for a good cause," said Gaal.

The veteran turned down a professional basketball contract to serve his country as a Marine. He said he does not regret that decision.

"But now the life that I have today, I couldn't have asked for a better life today," said Gaal.

In addition to raising awareness, Gaal is raising money to support the Semper Fi Fund, which is an organization that helps wounded service members and their families.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.torangaal.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.