Three men from the Helping Hands for Freedom charity recently completed the Route for the Brave, a 3,091 walk across America.
Staff Sgt. (ret.) Patrick Shannon, a two time Purple Heart recipient and Bronze Star recipient, David Roth, a 20-plus yr. vet of the Indianapolis Metro Police Department and Kevin Winton, a 20-year math teacher in Indiana, were the participants. They walked from Atlantic City, NJ to San Francisco, CA in four months.
Planning for the walk began as an idea from Roth three years ago. Roth saw his stepson go through multiple deployments with the Navy and the adjustment process, especially with the kids, that those deployments caused.
The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness for Gold Star families and to raise funds for the construction of a House of Healing and PTSD Center for military families.
During the walk, the Shannon, Roth and Winton attended 150 events, held along the way, to help with the fundraising.
“All the people we met and seeing the country from the ground up at a slow pace gave us a new appreciation of the diversity and strength of average Americans,” said Shannon.
Helping Hands for Freedom was created in 2008 by Shannon and his friend Rod Smith. While recovering at Walter Reed Army Hospital from injuries suffered in Iraq, Shannon would go bedside to bedside talking to fellow soldiers about their concerns. The one constant that came up was the family.
“In recent years, we, as a country, have been more aware of the sacrifices made by our troops,” Shannon said. “However, the families of those service members, who must make adjustments and sacrifices also, are often forgotten.”