Sergeant Chuck Lewis, a United States Marine Corps and United States Navy Reserve Veteran, was "Walking for the Fallen" through La Crosse on Highway 35 on Thursday.
Walking for the Fallen - USA is a personal tribute to all who serve and a fundraiser for disabled veteran programs.
Sgt. Lewis, 62, of Montana, began walking on March 31 near Seattle, Washington, and hopes to arrive at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. in late September. As of Wednesday, July 10, Sgt. Lewis has logged 1,882 miles. He will begin his journey through the La Crosse area at 9 a.m. at Onalaska's Community Park.
So far Sgt. Lewis has raised more than $20,000. He hopes to raise $50,000 by the time he reaches Washington, D.C.
Lewis was active with local veterans in his home in Montana but after a vet in his hometown took his own life, Lewis felt is was time to bring his message of helping veterans to the entire country.
"Even the DOD statistics show that since 2005 we've lost more active duty members to suicide that we have to combat, and when you think about we've lost over 6,000 men and women in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, that's a pretty big number to think that they've committed suicide," Sgt. Lewis said.
Lewis walks alone and carries with him a tent, small burner and solar charger for his phone.
Part of Walking for the Fallen-USA's mission is "to remind folks across our country of the 'cost of freedom,' by connecting with school age children, adults, civic, veteran and religion organizations during a 6-month, 3,300 mile 'love of country' effort," according to the website on Sgt. Lewis’ trip, www.walkingforthefallen.com.
After passing through La Crosse, Sgt. Lewis will continue his journey across the Wisconsin-Illinois border, Indiana, Kentucky and South Carolina before heading north to Washington, D.C.