Marine veteran bikes Great Divide to fundraise for injured vets

Husband and wife ride 2,495 miles for veteran awareness

KECI | Mackenzie Quinn | June 24, 2021 | Link to Article

BUTTE, Mont. — Dean and Lorri Zenonis woke up on Thursday morning, ready to begin day 14 of their 62-day bike ride.

“Every day is an adventure,” said Lorri. “Every day is a challenge, and you get through, you get into camp and say ‘wow, that was an awesome day.'”

They started at the border of Canada and are working their way to New Mexico.

Cycling has always held a special place in the heart of this couple after Dean’s injury.

“If I’m not exercising my injuries just go downhill and get worse,” said Dean.

As a Master Sergeant, Dean spent 24 years in the United States Marine Corp and four tours around the world before retiring due to injuries.

Lorri helped Dean throughout his recovery and once they learned that cycling worked for them, they kept riding. Often doing long trips.

Which is why when the idea came up to ride from Canada to New Mexico, they decided to do it for a nonprofit.

“I’m always biting off more than I can chew — you go big or go home,” said Dean, who noted that none of his friends were surprised when they announced their trip.

In just 62 days, this couple will ride 2,495 miles, passing through five states and battle the elements of weather and the environment.

“We’ve had one rain day so far,” said Dean. “I know everybody wants rain in Montana, so we’ll take it.”

Everywhere they go, they are recognized by their uniforms and stated that they constantly are getting one question: what are you doing?

They’re riding to raise awareness for Semper Fi & America’s Fund.

It’s a non-profit that works to help wounded service members get back into the labor force through apprenticeships, education and community support.

“I know there’s a lot of veterans out there just don’t know the things that are available and Semper Fi & America’s Fund is one of those resources,” said Dean.

The Zenonis’ stated that right now they’re hoping to raise $100,000 for the fund, but so far they’re only at $17,000.

They’re hoping that they can help the non-profit while also raising awareness to veterans who may need the help.

“It’s what gets me up every day to ride, knowing that people see our jerseys, and they asked all the time — what are you riding for, what do you doing, and it gives us an opportunity to talk about Semper Fi & America’s Fund,” said Lorri. “It gives us an opportunity to talk about how to support our combat wounded, ill and injured and how people can give back as well and help support us.”

So, this husband-and-wife duo continue to ride — one mile at a time.

You can track their journey here.

They are encouraging anyone who wants to join them on their ride, even for a few hours, to feel free to do so.

Marine veteran bikes Great Divide to fundraise for injured vets

KULR8 | Zach Kaplan | June 22, 2021 | Link to Article

HELENA, Mont. – A Marine Corps veteran is making his way from the Canadian border to the Mexican border as he hopes to raise money and awareness for Semper Fi & America’s Fund, which helps veterans once they return home.

Tuesday will mark Day 12 of their 62-day journey across the United States, as Dean and Lorri Zenoni bike along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Zenoni says the idea for the ride came about last fall, and the couple wants to show other veterans and their spouses the importance of being active once they return from active duty.

While it may not necessarily mean biking over 2,000 miles like the Zenonis are doing, they want other vets struggling with post-combat injuries like Dean to get moving both literally and figuratively, on the path to a better future.

“When you get injured, you like to just sit around and get in the zone where you don’t want to do anything and it’s hard to get moving again,” Dean Zenoni said. “Whereas if you get out on something like this on the bikes…I don’t have to think about it, I just get up and I know oh, we have to get to here today.”

Dean suffered a cervical spine injury and has been steadily battling back from it while taking up biking in the rehab process. Dean and Lorri plan to travel down towards Butte today, before traveling through Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico as they finish the journey along the divide.

You can track their cross-country trip in real time and learn more about The Fund here.