WWII veteran brings cross country trip to MS

WWII veteran brings cross country trip to MS
People from the community showed up to run along side Andrus on Thursday. (Photo source: WLOX News)
People from the community showed up to run along side Andrus on Thursday. (Photo source: WLOX News)

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A World War II veteran is resting after bringing his cross country trek to South Mississippi.

"I'm having fun all the way. I've run over 2,000 miles so far," said 92-year-old veteran Ernie Andrus before starting Thursday morning's run.

Andrus started his journey more than two years ago on the coast of California. Back then, the road ahead was long and Andrus had many skeptics. But, he is working hard to prove them wrong.

"People didn't take it seriously. They said, 'That old man can't do that, he's just dreaming,' you know? But by the time I reached Texas, I guess they decided I was going to do it," said Andrus.

Along the way, Andrus has attracted the attention and admiration of many people.

"It goes to show you anybody can do anything. You don't really have to run. You just have to get out and get moving," said Mikelle Williamson.

Andrus was escorted by first responders for his entire morning trek from Hancock Drive to the foot of the Bay Saint Louis bridge. Waveland Patrol Sergeant Chance Seals says he was honored to be helping the veteran with this journey.

"It's well worth the time," said Seals.

In addition to crossing the country, Andrus has another mission - raising funds to help get the last restored and functioning LST ship to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Andrus says it was a similar ship on which he served in the Navy, and he hopes to preserve its history, along with the country's.

"Don't want to let our ancestors down that made this a free country in the first place," said Andrus.

As he continues his journey, Andrus gathers followers who make the trek with him.

"I want to stick with him if I can keep up," said Rick Suntken from Ponchatoula.

Many of those who came out to run want to see the support for Andrus grow. They say his service alone is something that should inspire people to help out.

"I don't understand why there's not thousands of people out here. There really should be," said John Crosby from Mandeville.

Thursday morning's run made about a dozen for Crosby, so far. He plans to continue to help Andrus throughout the remainder of his journey.

As for Andrus, it's just another leg of the trip.

"I feel great. Ready to go to breakfast," said Andrus after crossing the finish line at the foot of the bridge.

Andrus will  be running the Bay Saint Louis bridge Saturday. To find out what time and keep up with his journey, click here to follow his Facebook page.

WLOX News Digital Content Producer Chris Thies joined Andrus Thursday morning, read his blog here.

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