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Cross country bike ride to benefit Heartland Chapter

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Navy Lieutenant Jeffrey Greene will be trading in military life for civilian life but he won't be taking it easy any time soon.

That's because on Monday, Lieutenant Greene began a 4,500 bike ride from California to New York.

As a strong supporter of the American Red Cross, he is calling his trip "Ride For Red" and all money raised along the way will go to programs and services for the Heartland Chapter and the Greater Buffalo Area Red Cross in New York.

Lieutenant Greene has always had a love of cross country bike trips and had completed a cross-country trip in 1999 while attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. After graduating from the Naval Academy, Lieutenant Greene was assigned submarine duty where he daydreamed of completing similar bike trip.

Lieutenant Greene's passion for the Red Cross comes from serving as the blood drive coordinator at Offutt Air Force Base, where he has spent the last two years as a planning officer for U.S. Strategic Command. The route began in Oceanside, Calif., and makes its way through 14 states before ending in Lieutenant Greene's hometown of Buffalo in May.

"I was the monthly blood drive coordinator," said Lieutenant Greene. "I then started getting involved in the other aspects of the Red Cross. They helped me so much, so I decided to give back by raising money for them."

To date, Lieutenant Greene has raised $5,890 total, with $3,726 of that going to the Heartland Chapter. His goal is $10,000. During the three-month ride he plans to live off of money he's saved for the past several years. He is minimizing costs for the ride by staying with a network of United States Naval Academy alumni in each of the 55 cities that he visits. One hundred percent of the money donated will go to the Red Cross.

"None of the money will go to me," said Lieutenant Greene. "There is a link on my Web site, www.rideforred.com, which goes directly to the American Red Cross secure Web site. People can donate money securely."

Donations to the trip can be made by going to his site. Click on the Heartland Chapter link, which will take you to the Chapter's online donation page. Donors should check the box marked Ride For Red. Donations can also be sent to the Chapter office at 2912 S. 80th Ave., Omaha, NE 68124.

As he travels the route he plans to post regular updates on his Web site.