Beech Grove Middle School teacher Kevin Winton and Indianapolis Police Department detective David Roth are making great strides in their walk across the United States to raise money for Helping Hands for Freedom, a veterans organization.
The duo entered Missouri earlier this month and stopped at Veterans of Foreign Post 4223 in Lemay, which is about one-third of the way into their 3,092-mile trek across the country on historic U.S. Route 40.
Winton and Roth departed Atlantic City, N.J., April 28, and were in Indianapolis Memorial Day weekend.
Their journey – known as the Route for the Brave – will take them across 14 states in four months, during which time Winton expects to wear out about eight pairs of shoes and countless socks. They are walking about 30 miles every day except Sundays until reaching San Francisco Aug. 26.
Braving the elements and blisters, Winton and Roth said they are motivated to keep walking by the military families they are meeting along the way.
“We’re just going to try to make a difference one step at a time,” Roth told a reporter in Lemay. “We’re going to move forward, we’re going to get to San Francisco on Aug. 26, and we’re going to build this house of healing.”
Roth, chairman of the organization’s board, hopes to raise $3 million to open a 46-acre house of healing for families who have lost members to war and treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. About 15 percent of what is needed has been raised. Donations can be made by visiting www.helpinghandsforfreedom.org.
The cause has turned into a passion for Roth, who said he hopes his passion will pay. “A small donation is just as important as a big one.”
It’s reported that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide daily, although Roth said he thinks the number is higher because of those not receiving documented care.