KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A retired Marine is embarking on a cross-country journey with one goal in mind.
Roy Brady, Jr. is heading from North Carolina to California hoping to raise awareness and money for wounded combat veterans, and that path is bringing him right through Knox County.
“I had a lot of friends in Iraq and then if they weren’t my friends just Marines period or all soldiers period,” said Brady.
He is trying to raise $35,000 for the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge non-profit.
“Just that they see that somebody’s out there to really support these guys. They meant a lot to me. They still mean a lot to me,” he said.
It is a cause near and dear to him. He spent 22 years in the Marines, retiring in 2013.
“After I retired I just wanted to pay it back to them. I thought what can I do to raise awareness to make sure these guys are better off,” he said.
His journey began March 1.
“Some days have been nice, but I had more wet days and windy days,” he said.
As of Thursday morning, Brady had traveled about 230 miles of a nearly 2,500 mile hike to San Diego, charting his course one step at a time.
“Just talking to the local people, Google Maps to try to point me in the right direction,” he said. “Visiting the VA hospitals, the VFWs if I see them, get the word out. It’s the people. They’re making me more motivated to make this walk.”
He draws a lot of attention, but after all, that is his goal.
“They see that Marine Corps flag. There’s a lot of Marines out there,” he said.
He added a word of hope if anyone sees him coming: “Stand out there and just beep, honk, wave, say, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing’ if that’s how you feel about it.”
His plan is to make it San Diego in about seven months.
If you want to help his cause, you can do so on the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge website: http://combatwounded.org/walk/