PITTSFIELD, Maine (WABI) – When a hijacked plane was flown into the Pentagon on September 11th, Allen Daniels’ unit was among the first responders to conduct search and rescue operations.
It wasn’t until returning to Virginia 17 years later that the memories came flooding back.
“City wasn’t out of sight and the waterworks started,” Daniels said. “I’ve never seen or remembered the things that I saw or did in the building until then. I still see everything I waded through and placing flags everywhere.”
He turned to cycling as a way to cope with his PTSD.
“I wasn’t sleeping, so I’d get up before the sun, hop on my bike, go ride until the sun rose,” Daniels said. “This is a form of like mindfulness and being present and a way to process thoughts and memories.”
In 2019, Daniels embarked on a 184-mile bike ride on 9/11 to honor the 184 people who lost their lives at the Pentagon that day.
This year, he’s riding 200 miles from Bowdoin College to Pittsfield, finishing the day by skydiving.
He’s raising awareness for the Windy Warrior Adrenaline Therapy program.
“For me to know I’m contributing to the program and seeing what other vets are getting from it and see the smile on their face when they hit the ground, to me, that’s worth it,” Daniels said.
Daniels hopes by sharing his experiences, other veterans and first responders will be able to do the same.
“There isn’t a therapy currently that cures you. You just get better at dealing with it, you get better at noticing the signs, and at some point, you got to ask for help,” Daniels said. “It’s OK to not be OK, but you got to keep on keeping on.”
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