ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — US Navy veteran Tony Blackall doesn't shy away from a challenge.
"I want to do this, it's a big move, it's going to push my body, it's going to push me mentally. I'm just going to go all in and I'm going to ruck on over to Road America," says Blackall, veteran and MotoAmerica Racer.
By "ruck on over," he actually meant walking 130-miles from his home in Michigan to the famous four-mile track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
"In Michigan, we have a trail that goes north and south called the White Pine Trail, so it was a beautiful scenic route," says Blackall.
The reason is to raise awareness for veterans and the struggles, including Blackall himself, has faced.
"I recognized it when my wife recognized it. She saw me on my downhill slope, kinda going into a dark room and not being social. I just kinda stepped away from everyone," says Blackall.
But he doesn't just walk for a purpose, he also races.
"I think it starts as an adrenaline rush as soon as you take off, but then it settles into a peacefulness because it seems like you are one with the world again. You're whole," says Blackall.
Competing in the MotoAmerica Superbikes circuit, he uses every aspect of his escape to help others across the country.
"I can then transfer it to the paddock and talk to other people and kind of give them my outlook on how I saved myself. Now, they might not be into motorcycles or stuff like that, but give them the idea that maybe there is something out there that they can look forward to," says Blackall.
By creating Blackall Racing, he has also made sure that when his time on the track has ended, the wheels with a purpose keep going.
"I just look at it like it saved my life, it might save someone else's life. Growing a bigger team gives us a bigger footprint, and a footprint can then grow to help more people," says Tony.
It's no surprise that this veteran still wants to protect and serve his country. He fought for freedom, now he's fighting for a better tomorrow.
"I understand being a human being and that's all I want to be. I just want positivity, I just want people to be people and help each other out. Give back when you can and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it," says Blackall.