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USF Student Vet Finishes Cycle Across USA

Congratulations to Kiersten Downs, former president of the University of South Florida Student Veterans Association. The Air Force veteran achieved her goals.

Monday around 4 p.m. she completed her 3,800 mile trek across the USA. She cycled with two goals: to raise awareness for student veterans and raise $50,000 for their non-profit organization, Student Veterans of America. She accomplished both.

Credit Biking USA
Kiersten Downs shows off the nail that temporarily delayed her final day riding across the USA.

A flat tire on the last day of her two-month journey did not stop Downs, just delayed her arrival to meet up with fellow riders at the Woodbridge VFW in Virginia.

Downs cycled into Washington DC as scheduled after starting in San Francisco June 2, 2013 by dipping her rear tire in the Pacific Ocean, a tradition by cross-country cyclists.

Several of the USF student veterans traveled to DC to celebrate her finish.

She tweeted (@Biking_USA) the photo above to share in her triumph shortly after 4 p.m.

The SVA will mark Downs' achievement with a celebration at the National Veterans Center, 2013 H. ST NW, Washington DC, Monday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Guests include Kiersten, Vice Admiral (ret.) Mel Williams, Jr., Senior Associate Dean of Military and Veteran Initiatives at George Washington University; Lieutenant General (ret.) Martin R. Steele, Associate Vice President for Veterans Research, Executive Director Military Partnerships, USF Research & Innovation, University of South Florida; Michael Dakduk, Executive Director, Student Veterans of America; Dan Parker, Director of Programs, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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