As I prepare to depart Friday on my Full-Throttle Leadership Ride along the U.S. Perimeter, the question most everyone asks is, “why?”

The idea of riding the “Edge of America” on a Harley-Davidson began as a bucket list item several years ago, something I’ve always wanted to do. Some people may not think 32 Days, 34 States and 15,000 Miles on a motorcycle sounds all that appealing. To me, its an adventure and journey I can’t wait to begin.

Like all bucket list items, this one has a bit of selfishness inherent in its being. It will be a great ride and I hope an interesting book idea will reveal itself to me along the way. And that might have been good enough if I had not been introduced to The Boot Campaign a while back.

Members of my own family have served in the military over the years, including my GrandDad Foster, my Uncle Al; and most recently, my brother, Maj. Rod Cromer, US. Army (Retired). Each of them are, however, part of a larger family, service men and women from around the country who answered the call – whenever and however it came – to stand for America at home and abroad. Whether you personally know an active duty service member or military veteran, they are ALL part of our larger American family.

That’s what The Boot Campaign is all about; providing a unique way for Americans to show appreciation for troops, cultivate awareness of the challenges they face upon return and raise funds for military support programs. It’s good work and it’s badly needed.

FACT: 260,000 veterans will be homeless this year

FACT: As many as 35 percent of Iraq Veterans have or will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

FACT: There are more than 5.5 million U.S. veterans living with a disability

FACT: 184,251 troops are currently on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon

FACT: I need to be concerned about the welfare of these American heroes, and so do you.

That’s why I decided on an even more ambitious goal than riding across the U.S. Perimeter on a motorcycle this Summer. The Full-Throttle Leadership Ride is now a challenge to raise funds and awareness for The Boot Campaign to live its vision statement, “When They Come Back, We Give Back.”

Each day will be dedicated to an active duty service member or veteran. The monies raised will come from everyday Americans, just like you and me, who want to “Get Your Boots On!” and say “Thank You.”

I hope you will consider supporting the Cause. Let’s Roll!