MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Special Forces motto is “De Oppresso Liber,” which means “to liberate the oppressed.”
As Green Berets, Zach Garner and Adam Smith were elite soldiers, tackling some of the toughest missions around the world.READ MORE: Semi Driver Killed In I-94 Crash In St. Michael, State Patrol Says
“Part of the reason I decided to be a Green Beret in the first place was to be a part of something bigger than just me,” Garner said.
Now, these Special Forces brothers now living in the Twin Cities are training for something bigger. Garner and Smith will ride 4,600 miles from Seattle to Florida in what’s being called the “Ride to Valhalla.”
It will be a mission of giving back to their fellow soldiers. The trip they take as the Green Beret Adventure Team is aimed at raising at least both money and awareness to help treat other brain injured vets.
“On Sept. 11, 2013, I had a seizure while I was in Afghanistan,” said Garner, who was later medically retired following a traumatic brain injury.READ MORE: Man Charged With Murder In Gunfight-Turned-Crash That Killed Autumn Merrick, 18
“One thing I didn’t know was going to happen though is the guilt I felt, leaving my team behind,” he said. “Something I had worked so hard for now was so quickly taken away.”
His battle back was aided by Task Force Dagger, a Special Forces non-profit that helps soldiers overcome brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, long-hidden costs of war which are finally out in the open.
“Just because you stop serving in the military doesn’t mean you stop serving your friends and family and your loved ones and your brothers,” Smith said. “There is a lot of concentration going into the psychological effects on war fighters and how constant exposure to high levels of stress can directly affect not just psychological but also physiological changes that take place.”
Training with the help of Pellicano Endurance, the team will spend the next few months building strength and stamina. Then, with the support of their families, they will head out for the most important mission of all: to heal the hurt of other soldiers in need.
“We’re there to help them defeat that oppression, that post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury or whatever happens to them to take their ability to live a normal life away,” Smith said. “That oppression, we’ve got to get rid of it.”MORE NEWS: Stray Bullets Hit Daycare, Multiple Homes In Brooklyn Park
If you would like to help the Green Beret Adventure Team out, click here.