By walking 3,600 miles across the United States, one Air Force Veteran and former educator, William Shuttleworth, is raising money and awareness for Veterans’ issues.
One stop on his seven month journey from Massachusetts to California was in Havana, where he talked to fellow vets about the struggles they go through when they return home.
A 71 year-old Air Force and Air National Guard Veteran turned educator, he is walking to address homelessness, addiction, access to healthcare, and representation in government for Veterans.
“Anytime I get my spirits down I just think about the people I’m going to meet and have met, it’s just really special.” said William Shuttleworth
Currently 1,200 miles in, he was inspired after spending last summer at a camp that had a number of homeless veterans who spoke of their daily struggles so he took to the road with only his backpack.
“This backpack only weighs 25 pounds but I’m sure someone sneaks up on me in the afternoon and puts a cement block in it. You know carrying this for 14-15 hours is difficult.” said Shuttleworth
Speaking with as many veterans and their families along the way as he can, those who met him at the VFW in Havana on Wednesday said he is an inspiration.
“This is a remarkable thing that he’s doing and I just really think that we all just need to stop and think well we’ve all served our country, so did he and he’s still serving his country.” said Dan Gunter, a Commander for American Legion Post 138 Havana
Raising money for The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Trust, who Shuttleworth said serves over 1 Million soldiers a year, he said we have to fight for our veterans who fought for us.
“That’s his mission and that’s why he’s out here walking these 3,600 miles to make sure that our veterans are aware that there is help out there for them and to never give up.” said Linda Armstrong, the Senior Vice President of the Department of Illinois VFW Auxiliary
From a Mom with seven children actively serving, to an amputee who continues to work. Shuttleworth said he is touched by the stories he has been told.
“I feel like you’re walking for me. So I’ve had so many of these conversations with Americans that feel like maybe someone’s reaching out to them to provide them with hope.” said Shuttleworth