Michigan Man’s Nationwide Walk for Veterans Reaches West Virginia

Michigan Man's Nationwide Walk for Veterans Reaches West Virginia

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – To stay healthy, people try to take a few steps every day. But one guy from Michigan has gone one step further by walking almost 3,000 miles across the country to raise money for the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund.

As of March 14, Pi Day, Army Veteran Jack Huffman has earned more than $256,000 on his third trip to Washington, D.C. He left Dana Strands, California on March 14. He earned $8,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2019 and $15,000 for the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund in 2023.

12 News was able to talk to Huffman as he traveled through north-central West Virginia.

“Veterans are very underserved,” Huffman said. “I have a lot of family members who served a long time in the military. They gave us the chance to follow our dreams, and I’d really like to support them.”

This year, Huffman and his girlfriend Tamara Ragon have been able to raise a lot more money thanks to Ragon’s work on making their online profile bigger. The two get money for it through their website, where people can give money directly or sponsor miles.

Huffman has walked through 11 states this year and has seen a bear, coyotes, blizzards, thunderstorms, and lightning storms. All of this happened in 71 days. In that time, he’s also worn out seven sets of shoes.

If you see Huffman, he’ll be moving a cart with 150 pounds of gear on it, including a GPS tracker and a GoPro to record his trip. He’s also wearing a purple shirt, which he said was there for a reason.

“You know, red and blue together make purple. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. We are much more united than people think.” She said, “Some people have no idea what I’m doing, but they’re showing what America is really about: kindness and care.”

People asked Huffman if he was scared of walking on busy roads or coming across dangerous animals like bears. He said he was ready for everything and that the trip had helped him get into survival mode and be aware of his surroundings.

Ragon is more worried about Huffman being in this situation. She told 12 News that she was on the phone with Huffman when a bear nearby yelled at him, which she said scared her but made Huffman think it was cool. The bear ran away when Huffman turned on his generator, he said.

Huffman brings a lot of water and trail mix with him on his trip. He said that even though he eats about 10,000 calories a day, he has lost weight because he walks two to three miles an hour and about 30 to 60 miles a day.

He told her that he might have to walk all day and night for a few days to get to Washington, D.C. by Monday because he’s behind schedule. It’s Memorial Day on Monday, which is also his goal day. He also wants to set a world record.

Huffman has been walking the trip by himself, but Ragon has been with him the whole time, both in spirit and through his headphones. She can also track him from Michigan using his GPS.

“So many people reach out to us and say that we’ve changed their child’s life, helped them make a change, or changed their relationship,” Ragon said. “You know, Jack and I are just very loving toward each other, and we’re loving each other through this.”

The money that Huffman raised on his trip will be given to the Salute Our Warriors event in Michigan on July 12.

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