SAN DIEGO - A local man will embark on a tremendous challenge on Sunday -- a run from the USS Midway Museum in San Diego to New York.
Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that knocked America to its knees. It is also the day George Chmiel will begin his BeastMode for the Brave Run Across America.
Chmiel will never forget watching the two World Trade Center towers fall on television.
"I remember the faces of my fellow students," he said. "And then the feeling of helplessness."
Chmiel finished college and landed on Wall Street.
"It is what I had always wanted to do, so a total dream come true," he explained.
He made the same walk to work every day, and the daily grind gnawed at him.
"You're working insanely hard," he explained. "You're on the phone non-stop, you're dialed in. You're just dialed in every second."
Chmiel started running to get away.
"Going out and running allowed me to find that balance," he said.
Chmiel ran marathons across the world and developed a deep love for America.
"I feel incredibly blessed to live in this country," he added.
In two months, he plans to run 3,000 miles, which is about 50 miles a day.
"I know it's going to be a level of suffering and pain beyond my wildest nightmares, to be honest," Chmiel said.
He is raising money for Chris Kyle's The Guardian for Heroes Foundation. It helps military veterans combat mental and physical problems through physical fitness to fight the 20 veteran suicides a day.
"I was working on Wall Street and making good money and traveling the world and doing really cool stuff, but I didn't serve," Chmiel explained.
He achieved his American dream, but part of him felt guilty for not defending it. Now, he is running for something -- he is running to give back.
When asked why not serve, Chmiel replied, "Yeah, I mean, I guess I could. But, you know what, maybe after this run I will."
The run should end on Veterans Day at the very spot he walked by on his way to work. When he drops to his knees at Ground Zero, he will remember those who fell on 9/11 and those who have fallen since.
"They're heroes," he said. "Absolute heroes."