A 71-year-old man recently declared his mission to walk across America. Inspired by his work with homeless veterans last year, William Shuttleworth of Newburyport, Massachusetts, embarked on a 3,600-mile coast-to-coast trek on May 15 to raise veteran awareness. He began in Newburyport last Wednesday and will end seven months later, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California, carrying just a 25-pound backpack.
Shuttleworth has been walking about 20 miles a day to train for his journey. He has carefully mapped his route, planning to walk about 25 miles each day and camp outside. You can track his journey online, and keep tabs on his progress.
One of Shuttleworth’s chief aims is to gain more support for veterans’ affairs in Congress. An Air Force veteran himself, he wrote on the Vets Don’t Forget Vets website, “Veterans gave a lot and often have little to show for it. More than 25% of all homeless men are veterans, and many of these forgotten warrior’s struggle with employment, addiction and sobriety. These men and women have little voice in Congress. Today, less than 18% of Congress has served in the military, compared to 78% in l972. With fewer veterans in Washington, who will speak and advocate for them?”
To support Shuttleworth and donate to his cause, visit his GoFundMe page. He has already raised more than $31,000. For every mile he walks, 85 percent of donations will go to Disabled American Veterans.