GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A retired Marine is walking thousands of miles in honor of our veterans. Richard Hunsucker started in Jacksonville, Florida, and is headed to San Diego. Day 36 of his 200-day trek across America brought him to South Mississippi.
"Carrying this flag represents a lot to me and a lot to our vets," explained Hunsucker.
He wasn't hard to spot walking down Highway 90 in Jackson County Wednesday morning. On his shoulder, was a flag representing all Disabled American Veterans.
"Our veterans need help, and I'm doing this walk from Jacksonville to San Diego to raise awareness that there are many needs of our disabled veterans."
Hunsucker is walking 2,340 miles across eight states. He feels that's a small sacrifice to make, compared to the needs of our vets.
"Our veterans are honorable," Hunsucker said. "When they're called to serve, they don't say wait three months, they go right away. They risk their lives and their limbs and when they get hurt, we are, as a nation, responsible to help them."
This retired Marine is relying on strangers to help feed and house him as he trudges from state to state with his message. Much of that help has come from fellow veterans.
"Not only do they help each other in battle, but they protect each other in life, and they've helped me out a lot. And a lot of great citizens have helped me out."
Thanks to the generosity of others, Hunsucker is a week ahead of schedule. He's traveling about 12 miles a day, and is confident he will reach his destination by Memorial Day.
"I will be in San Diego May 31st, no doubt."
Hunsucker said he's met a lot of great people along the way. He described this journey as an experience of a lifetime, one he's willing to do all over again.
"Somebody's got to stand up for something they believe in and it was my turn. I'm proud to do it, and I'm honored. There's no better people than the people that serve our country."
Richard Hunsucker said he has $42,000 in pledges so far. Every penny he raises goes directly to Disabled Veterans of America. If you you'd like to help, you can make a donation at www.vetwalking.org/.