Military Connection: When Age is Just a Number

Ernie Andrus

By Debbie Gregory.

For most of us, cars, buses or cabs are the most common means of travel. For ninety-one-year-old Ernie Andrus, conventional transportation is not at the top of his list.

The U.S. Navy Veteran has crossed the Atlantic by ship. Now, he’s crossing the country on foot…running!

With his trademark miniature American flag in hand, wearing a neon vest and a rainbow-colored headband, the most impressive thing about this nonagenarian, besides the physical challenge of his task, is the smile on his face

This journey began in San Diego on October 7, 2013. Just over a year and a half and numerous states later, you could say he’s made some great progress.

His destination? Andrus says he eventually hopes to arrive at the Atlantic coast near Brunswick, Georgia.

The World War II Veteran is raising funds and awareness for his dream of returning a ship, the LST 325, to Normandy for the 2019 D-Day memorial services. If he is successful in his plan, the ship will beach in the same location it did 75 years ago.

The reason for wanting this particular ship to go to Normandy takes Andrus back 14 years, when he was a spry 77 year old.  He was among the crew who returned the ship to the U.S. from the Isle of Crete, Greece. The event was documented on the History Channel.

Carlos Cano, a retired Marine Corps soldier, met Andrus on the road just over a year ago. To date, Cano has joined his companion Andrus for 18 runs.

Andrus has a support recreational vehicle that he parks where permitted, then runs roadside or in parks of the town he’s calling on.

To keep himself from tiring, Andrus says he limits his jogs to only half-marathon distances or so.

“I don’t run too far. I try to keep it a maximum of 10 miles,” he says.

We should all be so fit!

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Military Connection: When Age is Just a Number: By Debbie Gregory