A nationwide "Ride 4 Relief" is kicking off in Sioux Falls Thursday.
Jeff Shepard is driving through 35 states spreading awareness about the stresses and dangers police officers, firefighters and other first responders face and how they can affect mental health.
"It's a sad thing and it needs to be talked and people to be aware of it," Shepard said.
A former police officer and firefighter, Shepard has seen just about everything and has post-traumatic stress disorder to show for it.
"In the ten years that I was at the police department, I was in four incidents where I almost died. It definitely took a toll on my mind and my body. I'm glad I'm healthy now and here to do this and spread the word," Shepard said.
After being involved in an ambush shooting and an IED attack as an officer, Shepard struggled to sleep, had nightmares and faced other issues. It eventually led to a medical discharge from duty.