How far would you go to raise awareness for a cause? One mile? A hundred miles? A thousand miles? Perhaps it would depend on the cause. But what if that cause was to honor fallen service members? Would you travel over 4,400 miles for this cause? One Veteran is… and he’s doing it on foot.
Former Army Captain Mike Viti began his trip on April 26, 2014 in DuPont, Washington. What is being called Mike’s Hiking for Heroes will result in a 4,412 mile hike across more than a dozen states, the entire western and southern portions of the country. Viti’s legs will ultimately carry him 7,100 kilometers, or more than1 kilometer for every fallen American service member from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Viti is a former platoon leader and Bronze Star recipient for his actions during combat in Afghanistan. His current mission is to raise awareness about the sacrifices made by U.S. Service members in the Global War on Terrorism. He hopes to unite Americans in their remembrance of the sacrifices made by the fallen, hopefully culminating in permanent memorials in the hometowns of each service member who was killed in action.
From Washington state, Viti and his team hiked to California, where they met with the NFL San Francisco 49ers. They spent Independence Day in the San Diego area.
Mike’s Hiking for Heroes is averaging 22 miles a day, even though there are breaks and stops at events and rallies that draw the public to his cause.
Viti’s hike is scheduled to end on December 13, 2014 at the Army-Navy Football game in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to being a former captain in the U.S. Army, Viti was also a former captain of the Army Football team from his days at West Point . Playing for the Black Knights, Viti was a punishing fullback. He was briefly signed to a contract with the Buffalo Bills in 2008.
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Military Connection: Vet to Hike 4,400 Miles: By Debbie Gregory