For the past four months Tommy Zurhellen has been walking 22 miles a day. The former Navy nuclear electrician started in Portland, Oregon on April 15th and he’s trekked 2,860-miles across the country, and just ending his journey in Poughkeepsie, New York. His epic road trip on foot was to raise money for veterans and awareness about the issues they face, including homelessness and suicide.
The Marist College English professor walked 22 miles a day to represent the daily average of veteran suicides in America, according to a 2015 VA study. Zurhellen braved snowstorms, lost a couple toenails, and shed 40-pounds along the route, but he also met many fellow vets and supporters on his trip.
He surpassed his fundraising goal of $40,387 - the average number of homeless veterans in the U.S. - and raised nearly $45,000 for organizations that support vets. When Zurhellen finished up he said, “The walk has ended, but the journey is just beginning.”