Vet rides to spread word of soldier's valor
Posted May 26, 2014
Weldon, N.C. — Harry Conner was so moved by the sacrifice of Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe that he decided to make one of his own. Cashe deserves the Medal of Honor, Conner believes, and he is putting pedal to the metal to prove it.
Conner is biking from Cashe's final resting place in Florida up the east coast to New York City.
By Monday, when the national stopped to mourn its war dead, Conner had 830 miles behind him and a lot more map to go.
When he started, Conner knew little about cycling. "Absolutely zero,” he said.
When the road seems long or lonely, Conner thinks about Cashe.
"His heroism and bravery struck me so much,” Conner said.
Cashe was serving in Iraq in 2005 when his vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device. Fuel spread flames everywhere.
“Yet he went back to a burning vehicle,” Conner said.
Cashe saved fellow soldiers, pulling them from the fire. With each trip, Cashe himself was burned over and over. He later died from his injuries.
“The fact that he was willing to basically allow himself to burn to death to try to save his brothers in arms, it was just a remarkable story to me,” Conner said.
Cashe was awarded the Silver Star for Valor. Conner, a former soldier himself, thinks Cashe deserves the Medal of Honor, the military's highest honor. He and others have made the case for years, but Conner says it remains tied up in bureaucracy.
So Conner took his cause to the road. He gets support through donations, and shares his daily mileage, expenses and experiences through the Facebook group created to advance Cashe's cause.
Along the way, he shares Cashe's story with those he meets.
“I am convinced I can do it," Conner said. "I keep saying my prayers, and, God willing, I will make it to New York.”