Indianapolis neighbors David Roth and Kevin Winton stopped at the capitol Monday and dedicated their day’s walk to Carson City native Joshua Rodgers, U.S. Army chief warrant officer, killed in Afghanistan in 2007.
The men are walking across country to raise $3 million to build a healing center for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and Gold Star families coping with the loss of a family member.
The pair met with Cesar Melgarejo, veteran’s policy analyst for Gov. Brian Sandoval, to give him a poster with the words “All Gave Some, Some Gave All,” signed by everyone on their team.
Their Route for the Brave started April 28 in Atlantic City, N.J., and is expected to be completed Aug. 26 in San Francisco, where the pair will walk out the game ball for the 49ers game and celebrate the next day with a banquet at the Union Square Hilton for family, friends and sponsors.
But first the pair will depart today at 6 a.m., taking State Route 88 from Minden through Lake Tahoe to Sacramento before the final leg of their 3,000-mile journey.
“It’s an incredible country,” said Roth, a 20-year Indianapolis police officer as well as Chairman of the Board, Helping Hands for Freedom, the non-profit organization behind the walk. “It’s been the education of a lifetime.”
Along the way, they’ve dodged a few oncoming vehicles, endured daily rainstorms for nearly the first three weeks, and scaled some impressive heights, including the 11,307 foot Berthoud Pass in Colorado.
“We did well even though it kicked our tails,” said Roth.
And the roughest part of their 15-to 30-mile daily routine?
“I never planned on the emotion of it all, the emotion of meeting the mothers and wives,” said Roth, who said he’d met with hundreds of Gold Star families along the way.
Roth and Winton, who has taught 8th grade math for 29 years, have been joined by a small team, including Joel Meyers, the trip scheduler and driver who often walks, too.
Carson Diersing, an Indianapolis skateboarder whose father is a combat veteran, caught up with the team in Fallon and did a skate demonstration and played his guitar at The Wheel House Sunday.
Darin Fishburn, CEO, HHFF, also joined the team at the capitol.
The group spent a couple nights in town, compliments of the Gold Dust West.
“They put us up for the weekend and they’re feeding us, too,” said Roth. “A warm shower is always welcome.”
The Seven Seas Inn in South Lake Tahoe is hosting them tonight.
Many others have helped, including Indiana Grand Racing Casino, their sponsor; Dellen Automotive, Greenfield, Ind., which donated a car for raffle; Auto Corral RV, Mesa, Ariz., which provided the team’s RV for when no lodgings were in sight; and 3M, which donated the wraps for the vehicle that advertised the walkers’ cause and introduced them to people along the way.
And the land to build the center will be donated, too. The group is working now to pin down a possible site in Arizona, Indiana, Kansas or Kentucky.
Roth said they’re about 40 percent of the way to their fundraising goal.
To learn more or to donate, go online to routeforthebrave.org or visit their Facebook page, Route for the Brave.