KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An 80-year-old Vietnam veteran traveled cross country on a scooter, raising money for families in Ukraine, who have husbands, sons, and fathers who have had to go to war.

David Weech of Knoxville had a dream: he had wanted to ride a Vespa scooter across the country since he was 16 years old. Now, decades later, the Vietnam veteran has achieved his goal and is helping people whose lives have been devastated by another war in another country.

Weech, who is 80 years old, finds cruising on his Vespa in Knoxville a breeze compared to the grueling 3-month cross country trip he just finished.

“I cruise anywhere from 65 to 70 all day long,” he said.

David traveled over 16,400 miles on his journey, and his interesting choice of vehicle led us to ask: why a scooter for such a long journey?

“I wanted to do it on a Vespa. It all stemmed from when I had a Vespa back in 1958 that my uncle gave me,” David said. “He had a little mishap with it, freaked him out, and he said, ‘here, you want this?’ So, I took it.”

David’s charity tour called “Scoot4Uke.org” began June 25th at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., taking him up the coast to Nova Scotia and Niagara Falls. He faced the challenge of riding on dark, rainy highways and bugs, so many bugs when he hit Montana.

“They had grasshoppers and I mean, when I first felt a ping on my helmet, I thought a truck had spun a rock on me like they do many times and it dawned on me, I hadn’t passed anybody in a long time, so it wasn’t off a vehicle. It was one of those big grasshoppers!”

He made it to San Diego, Texas, and then Florida, carrying a message of peace and awareness, and hoping for donations to Scoot4Uke.org for the people of Ukraine who are enduring so much.

“We wanted it to go to families living in Ukraine,” David said, “who have fathers and sons on the battlefield.

While David had lots of support along the way from complete strangers and friends and family behind the scenes, he did the ride alone. He’s thankful he could do it and grateful to be back home in East Tennessee.

“It was so nice to wake up yesterday morning, look out of my window and realize I didn’t have to face a 200 to 500 miles trip on a scooter.”

Donations for Scoot4Uke.org go directly to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. They support families in Ukraine. For more information go to www.Scoot4Uke.org or www.CanadaHelps.org

EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated.