DAVENPORT, Iowa. (KWQC) - A Vietnam veteran is walking across the country along with an oxygen tank, all to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Jerry Meadows is a 63-year-old Air Force Veteran and started his journey in Bemidji, Minnesota. He's making his walk 1,245 miles south to Jacksonville, Florida! He started last year and just made a stop in Davenport, Iowa on February 14th.
Jerry Meadows is an Air Force Veteran and started his journey in Bemidji, Minnesota. He's making his walk 1,245 miles south to Jacksonville, Florida! He started last year and just made a stop in Davenport, Iowa on February 14th.
Behind Jerry is his wife, Virginia, driving a van to make sure he's safe along the way. They say they make the call every morning on whether or not it's safe to go out and how far he's able to walk.
Meadows focused primarily on military relationships when speaking about the Wounded Warrior Project. Military occupations make up 3 of the top 10 most divorced jobs, according to data from the U.S. Census. The Wounded Warrior Project, has created projects to prevent that from growing, with projects for spouses and caregivers as well.
"For them to keep their doors open, we need those donations." So, Meadows headed out into the cold, proving it's not all just for show. "It's important that people know this is not a scam. People who try to scam people don't really get to walk the walk. Any given day you can walk the highway you can see me walking towards that goal."
Right beside Meadows is his oxygen tank, something he needs for his daily life. "It's kind of tough. I've had a triple bypass, 10 cardiac stents. When they did a triple bypass, one of the grafts failed. So my heart now doesn't produce enough oxygen for my body. Because of that, that puts me on supplemental oxygen."
Walking thousands of miles across the country is one of the freedoms Meadows fought for: "it's a beautiful country. I'm not saying you need to do it like I'm doing it, but this is an awesome country to go out and explore!"
Jerry said he and his wife Virginia will settle down in Florida once he's done with the walk, which he says likely won't be until October.
Jerry walks about 10 miles per day. He says if you see him along the highway, you should honk or wave because that's what keeps him going. "It's very helpful to keep my head in the game. But I've had kids come up and run out the car and run up just big enough to put their arms around my leg and say 'thank you for your service' and I know they have no clue what war is but I can tell parents are raising their kids right," he shared.
Click here if you want to support Jerry Meadows and the Wounded Warrior Project.