PALM DESERT, Calif. — Home from Iraq in August 2009, former Army specialist Troy Yocum was inspired by a fellow veteran who needed assistance but couldn't get it from non-profit groups overwhelmed with requests, so Yocum decided to literally take steps to help.
During what has been dubbed "Hike for our Heroes," Yocum, 31, is walking a loop around the country in hopes of raising $5 million and drawing attention to military families in need.
During his 16-month journey, which included his arrival in Palm Desert last week after walking 3,527 miles of his 7,000-mile goal, the Kentucky native has faced his share of obstacles.
Kidney stones sent him to a hospital for nine days in Colorado, his RV has broken down more than a dozen times and his dog was temporarily sidelined with a bladder infection.
Along the way, Yocum has gotten married, climbed 12,095 feet along Colorado mountains and received more than 30,000 e-mails from supporters.
As of Nov. 18, he said, he had raised more than $105,000 for Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit group that helps servicemembers, veterans and their families, and given money to 14 military families in need.
"This dream I had in Iraq of walking across America and raising money and helping people, I didn't know if it would work," Yocum said. "But the fans of what we're doing really push me to keep going."
Yocum embarked on his charitable trek April 17 with his then-fiancée, Mareike, and his friend Terry Carmickle. [...] go read the rest
Why is Troy doing this? Troy is responding to the needs of our nation’s warrior citizens. In the last 6 years over 19,000 Military families have applied for assistance and nearly 50% of those soldiers have been helped. By spreading awareness he hopes to save the homes and lives of his fellow brothers and sisters in arms. “They have fought for us, and now I will fight for them. If I reach the goal of $5 million then many families will be helped.”
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Sic vis pacem para bellum