Raising money for veterans’ families, one step at a time

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Putting one foot in front of another, for more than 3,000 miles, two local men are taking a journey. They’re hoping to raise money for veterans and their families.

24-Hour News 8 has been following the organization Helping Hands for Freedom since last March, when organizers were planning the walk. It kicked off a month ago in Atlantic City, New Jersey and is expected to wrap up in September in San Francisco.

Joined by supporters Friday, the two men made their way through Indianapolis.

Try walking a mile in their shoes, or 700 miles to be more precise.

“By about day 15, I had no clue what day of the week it was, how many days we had been walking. I’m not even sure right now what day it is,” said Kevin Winton, who is a Beech Grove math teacher.

Winton was joined by his buddy, IMPD detective David Roth. Others have joined in from city to city, but the two are the only ones enduring the entire walk from the east coast to the west.

“If you would have told me that I was walking this far, there would’ve been some doubt. Absolutely, no doubt whatsoever,” said Roth.

So what is it that changed their doubt to no doubt?

The men and women in uniform.

“I remember setting security, and after that I woke up in a hospital 10 days later in Washington, D.C.,” said Marine Corps veteran Mathew Bowman.

Bowman lost both legs and part of his arm, after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan back in 2011.

“When I first got injured, there’s a lot of emotions and a lot of stress with therapy and all,” he said.

Helping people like Bowman is the purpose of the walk. The organization focuses on the families of veterans who were either injured or killed in the line of duty. Money raised from the walk will go toward a $3.6 million retreat center. It would house up to eight families and include a post traumatic stress disorder center.

“We’re going to have an equine and dog therapy. There’s going to be family therapy for fallen and wounded families that are going through a lot of struggles,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Shannon who is the founder of Helping Hands for Freedom.

With that in mind, the journey continues, with 2,400 more miles to go.

“It’s not a big deal compared to what they went through or still go through everyday,” said Winton.

During Friday’s stop in Indianapolis, another veteran organization came out to show support. Helping Heroes of America donated $10,000 toward the cause. If you’d like to help out, you can do so by clicking here.

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