Marine Corps Veteran Eddie Gray is walking America for veterans, and has been since April 3, 2008. His purpose is to visit with people from all over the country and from all walks of life, sharing with them his thoughts and goals for United States servicemen/women. He wants everyone to “just say thank you when you meet a veteran,” he says. “It’s important to them to know that what they are doing, or have done, is not going unnoticed.”
Gray is a proud veteran, since 1998, and he would still be serving his country if he hadn’t gotten hurt during his service. He received a medical discharge but wants to continue his service to his country and all military personnel. “Freedom’s not free,” he reiterates to those he meets. “That’s why it’s important to give veterans the thanks they are entitled to. Veterans Day is every day.”
He recently visited Monticello and then headed east where he stopped in Greenville and visited with Roy Scott, commander of the American Legion Post 131. He then headed towards Jacksonville, then north. He will eventually walk his way back to his home state of Montana where he started out from; where he was born and raised. But, it will take a few more years. He’s the oldest of eight siblings and is employed by the US Forestry Department.
He’s met alot of good people along the way and he enjoyed the time spent with them. He is invited to stay here and there, and sometimes he sleeps along the back roads of America. He travels light and keeps a daily log of his travels via the Web. You can keep up with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He collects tokens of the places he’s been from the people he meets; like patches and other keepsakes. When he collects too much stuff he will post it back home.
He is usually invited to stay at churches. He plans out his routes ahead and makes contact with a police department or fire department, VA hospitals or veterans group. He meets with city mayors and councilmen, police chiefs and such. He enjoys what he’s doing and looks forward to the road ahead. He spent Thanksgiving with a family in Tallahassee, and his time in Monticello was spent with volunteer firemen, and Police Chief Fred Mosley.
Gray also receives donations from local veterans groups along the way and has received sponsorship support as well. He was at the 7,000 miles traveled mark when he reached Tallahassee. He’s got a lot more traveling to do. He will write a book when he’s done with his walk titled ‘An American Odyssey,’ about his time on the road. He is a member of the Semper Fi Club and can be followed on Facebook.
“If you see a veteran say thanks. Recognize them,” said Gray.