By WDSU 6 New Orleans | WDSU.com | April 16, 2012
NEW ORLEANS -- A 71-year-old former Marine has taken to the road to help raise money for injured servicemen and women.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine, and it's just a part of who I am," Rick Hermelin said.
Hermelin said his 100-day ride from South Carolina to California is to help raise money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Most of his nights are spent with firefighters and other emergency workers. On Sunday night he was in Covington. On Monday night he was expected to stay in Hammond.
Kace Nielsen with the Hammond Fire Department said Hermelin's cause is similar to his own.
"We serve our community here by protecting them, and people from the military serve our country, so we're kind of like brothers and sisters in that way," Nielsen said.
Hermelin is riding a ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical bicycle across the country.
"I get a lot of looks. People pull up in their cars, roll down their windows and ask me, 'What's that? Where can I buy one? How much do they cost?' Yeah, yeah," he said.
Hermelin said he has run 100 marathons, 100 half marathons and 100 10-K's, but this effort is more important than any of them.