World War II Veteran, 95, Is Crossing the Country on Foot Again and Plans to Finish in 5 Years
Three years ago, World War II veteran Ernie Andrus did what seemed like an impossible feat, and he’s ready to do it once again.
As CNN reported, over the course of two years and 10 months, Andrus, who was 90 at the time, departed from Georgia and totaled 2,631 miles once he reached his destination of California in August 2016. Many doubted he could do it the first time, but now the 95-year-old war hero has already embarked on his second country-wide walk.
During the Fourth of July, Andrus, now 95, celebrated the holiday with a slow run through Monticello, Florida. His second coast-to-coast adventure kicked off back in March, when he left once again from Georgia, in the state’s St. Simons Island.
“I could never turn down the chance for an adventure,” he told CNN.
Now a few years older than he was during his first adventure, Andrus expects this adventure may take a little longer. He predicts that come five years, he will make it to the West Coast and he has an exact plan on how he’ll accomplish the feat.
As he told CNN, Andrus hopes to run 13 miles each week, no matter how hot or how cold his conditions are. His incredible accomplishment is not only for himself, but also serves as a message to the U.S. Navy, which he served in during World War II.
“If I make it all the way, I’ll be about 100 years old,” he said. “And if a 100-year-old man can run coast to coast, the Navy can give us some help.”
During his run, the Navy is fighting to raise funds to sail a restored WWII tanker for an upcoming D-Day anniversary. Andrus hopes that by showing he can once again make it from coast to coast, the funds will grow to help accomplish the Navy’s goal.
For the past few years, Andrus and his former WWII comrades have been trying to restore the former ship to sail it to a memorial. As he explained to CNN, he runs with the goal of totaling enough money for the ship to one day sail back to Normandy Beach.
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The fund earn over $33,000 during his last trip, but with a cost of over a million, he knows that he has his work cut out for him, but is prepared to take on the challenge.
His running habits, despite his old age, continue to remain a part of his consistent schedule. He runs Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, resting in between, for an average of 4.5 miles each day he runs.
According to CNN, Andrus’ runs begin in the morning even before the sun rises. However, he’s not alone — he’s trailed closely by state troopers and his travel partner in their cars.
While the Navy veteran has outlived all three of his late wives, he is anything but lonely during his time on the road, as he often stops to greet crowds, sometimes totaling over 20,000 people in cities like Jasper, Texas and in his home state of Georgia.
“There’s a lot of good, loving people in this country,” Andrus told the outlet. “I’m on memory lane now.”
While Andrus has plenty of miles to go, the thought of giving up is nowhere to be found, and he’s prepared to reach the sunny state of California once again, possibly just in time to celebrate being a whole century old.