100 miles, year 2
This year's walk, just like the last one, shook me on so many levels. I had minimal training, worried about the unknowns and most of all just hoped people would notice. The first 6 miles we had Gov Rick Perry and Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who is a personal hero of mine, join us. I felt this really started things off right. My hat's off to those guys for motivating and legitimizing this cause. Heck, Gov Perry and his security team even ran part of it in combat boots.
As the days and the miles rolled slowly by and the urban streets turned rural and then back again, new walkers would come and go but mostly it was just the 4 of us. Jonny, Caleb, my brother and me with backpacks full of 'not so cold' water, bandanas around our necks, blisters on our feet and sunburn everywhere else. We walked on sidewalks, shoulders, ditches, high weeds and any other place where we could avoid the onslaught of traffic that seemed to be the only thing as relentless as the Texas sun. Sometimes we joked and laughed, sometimes we dug deep into serious discussion and sometimes we walked in silence. Maybe during those times we were trying to forget about our feet or maybe we were remembering the purpose of our mission. Each of us had different reasons for walking, but we did it together, step by step, in those boots to Ft. Hood. What is freedom to an American today? It's a lifestyle. Isn't that the vision our forefathers had so long ago, for freedom to become constant without forgetting the cost? My granddad saw the cost through the cockpit of a B-24. Marcus Luttrell saw it deep in the Hindu Kush and even I have seen the alternative on the streets of Baghdad. That's why I walked. That's why I'll continue to walk to bring attention to this country's greatest cause. Freedom is a gift. It is our responsibility to not take that for granted. It is our responsibility to thank the ones that provide it.
Without these people, this year's walk could not have happened: The Boot Campaign, Ranch Hand Truck Accessories, Original Swat, Southern Thread, American Adventure RV, Vitamin Water, Dodge Country, Freedom Jeep Chrysler, Bobo Bars, Shiner Beer, Zip Fizz, Koma Unwind, Lake Travis United Methodist Church, North View Community Church, Andice Baptist Church, Larry Murray, Meghan McDermott, Angela at Sunfire Entertainment, the girls at NPG PR, Justin Caple, Jake Hamilton, Dan Campbell, Caleb Kelly, Jon Wisinski, Tyler Smith and most of all my amazing wife Amber.