7:27am

Fri September 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Iraq Vet Walks America

An Iraq War veteran is finishing an 8,000 mile hike around the U.S. that began in Louisville last year. Troy Yocum was 33 miles away from Louisville at noon on Thursday.His goal is to raise $5 million dollars for military families, he said. On Thursday he had crossed over the $500,000 mark and in on Sept. 14, sponsors are expected to donate additional money, said Yocum. The money he’s raising will funding wishes to military families through the program Wish Upon a Hero. He’s already helped around 60 people since April 2010 when he began, he said. One was the son of a fallen soldier who wished he could go to space to be close enough to heaven to see his dad.

“We recently sent him to space camp for the summer because he expressed how much he loved space. It was a touching story for me to read that wish and I knew I wanted to do something to help him,” said Yocum.

Now he is getting close and he said when he arrives at the finish line at the Louisville Slugger Museum this weekend, he expects a few thousand people to greet him.

“I thought I could finish all 7,880 miles in 15 months and instead we’re coming into Louisville around a month and a half late. And that’s not a failure in my book. I take from this that perseverance is key to accomplishing any goal and I’ve been working extra hard this year to make it all the way to the finish line. It’s almost surreal to be this close to home. I just passed a sign that said 33 miles and that feels really good,” said Yocum.

Upon his return, Yocum said he will continue to work with Wish Upon a Hero. And he expects to hit the road again, this time concentrating on helping even more families, he said.