A lot of veterans need help when they come back home from serving. The Wounded Warriors Project is one organization that does a lot for them.
To show his support, Jerry Meadows is walking from Minnesota to Florida, which brought him through the Quad Cities on February 14.
He joined the Air Force in 1975, fulfilling a dream he’d had since he was a child. Now in 2020, he and his oxygen tank are walking highways all the way to the Wounded Warriors Project headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, to help raise money for other veterans.
And though it’s hard on cold days, like when he passed through the Quad Cities, he’s not stopping until he gets there.
“I really wanted to go out and walk the walk,” Jerry said.
And that is quite literally what he will be doing for almost 1700 miles to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project.
“I want veterans to know there’s people still out there that are willing to do such things in order to keep them in a positive direction.”
While the distance is already hard enough, add in the cold weather and his needed oxygen tank. But to him it’s worth it.
“It’s rough, its rough,” Jerry said. “What gets me through it is, I can think about what our veterans went through and things like that and all of a sudden, it gets a little easier.”
Walking on the side of the highway isn’t the only danger. He has the oxygen tank for good reasons.
“I went through a triple bypass, and one of those graphs failed. I’ve got 10 cardiac stents, and an enlarged heart.”
But the tank isn’t his only companion keeping him safe on the trip. His wife Virginia follows him in their 1996 Ford van, with all their belongings in it. And this trip was quite a shock to her.
“I think he’s nuts, but that’s my opinion,” Virginia says with a chuckle. “When he told me about it, I says you got to be kidding.”
Jerry is a veteran, but he’s overcoming quite a few obstacles. So he also wants to spread another message as well.
“I want this to be an inspiration to anybody that’s suffering any type of disability. It’s really not a full disability until you admit that it is.”
Its not a question of if he will make it. It’s just a matter of when.
“They got the coffee brewing and they’re going to leave the light on for me. And I can’t disappoint them. I’m gonna have to show up.”
Jerry and Virginia expect to make it to Jacksonville by September or October. They got off to a slow start because of car issues, but now they’re going about 10 to 14 miles a day.
When asked if he’d be walking back to Minnesota when all this was finished, it was met with a quick “no” by his wife and Jerry agreed. He says he won’t even be walking to his backyard after this.
If you want to contribute to his campaign, you can mail money to the Wounded Warrior Project or go to their website.
And if not, Jerry always loves when people stop and talk to him while he’s walking.