OBERLIN, LA (KPLC) - At first glance, he seems like your average bike rider. But for Bob Quick, it's been a rough start.
"Nine years ago," said Bob. "I had a massive heart attack."
That heart attack left Bob dead for over 3 minutes. The fire department in his hometown of Roy, Utah rushed to his side and brought him back to life. Over the years, he's had 16 stents in his heart as well as a pacemaker defibrillator the size of an iPod. Bob says he had to do something to show his gratitude.
"It changed my whole life," said Bob. "I decided that I really have to give back."
Bob and his son Conrad are taking a bike ride from California to Florida to help raise awareness for heart disease. He visits fire departments and cooks for the crews in exchange for a place to rest to honor the firefighters that saved his life. As he made his way through Southwest Louisiana, the Oberlin Fire Department was there to greet him. Fire Chief Roy Lowman said he'd never heard of Bob's story, but when he did, there was no way he was going to turn him down.
"He's showing his appreciation back to us and our causes," said Lowman. "I'm hoping he's loved it here so far."
Bob and his son have fully equipped bikes that include everything they need including food, cooking utensils, water and Bob's medication. Their bikes are also filled with handwritten messages and stickers from all the fire departments and supporters he's met along the way.
For Bob, it's more than just a bike ride.
"Each one of these firefighters," said Bob. "The hugs they give me, the thumbs up they give me every day. It's an humbling moment when you look up and you see them firefighters and they have tears in their eyes."
It's a moment Bob said he will take along for the ride. Bob's ultimate goal is to raise $1 million to give to charities.