Hollywood star hits the road with wounded vets

Hollywood star hits the road with wounded vets
SEATTLE -- Wounded soldiers and a Hollywood star hit the road on Saturday morning to head to Los Angeles on two wheels.

Actor Jack Scalia is fronting a team called Operation American Spirit in order to raise money for wounded vets through the 1,500-mile ride.

The soldiers are relying on pedal power to help them heal from the war.

"We all have scars," said J.R. Martinez, a rider. "With mine, you can see them on the outside. There's millions of people that have them on the inside. You can't see them. We can all relate because we have all had to overcome something in life."

Martinez is just 24 years old, but the Iraq war veteran has already looked death in the eye.

"My vehicle ran over a landmine. I was trapped inside the vehicle, the vehicle caught on fire. By the time they were able pull me out of the vehicle, I was burned over 40 percent of my body," he said.

Many of the participating vets barely survived a war zone only to go under when they get back home.

"And you still have a mortgage, you still have a car payment, you still have utilities, you still have bills to pay," Martinez said.

Scalia and the team are stopping at various towns for various fundraisers planned. The riders are also raising money through pledges.

"The men and women of the Armed forces, once they come home, their lives are just beginning again and now we need to step up for them as they have stepped up for us," Scalia said.

Scalia says it's also about saying "thank you" to veterans.

"The reason we can talk here and make films and do television and leads these fairly safe lives because of the sacrifice they are making over there," he said.

The team hope every mile will put more dollars in the pockets of wounded vets when they need it most.

"Giving them opportunity to move on with life and be independent again and feel like the provider for their family," Martinez said.

And make it easier to put some of the scars of war behind them.

You can follow the ride online and make a donation to help wounded soldiers at Operation American Spirit's Web site.