Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 9, 2014

Each step a salute to our veterans

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Every step is a precious one for an east coast man who stopped in Pauls Valley this week on his long walk across the country to honor America’s military veterans.

Carl Wentworth, a 47-year-old from Worcester, Massachusetts, started his long journey last fall after one day he decided more awareness was needed for our veterans and the service they’ve provided the country.

“The reason I’m walking is to bring awareness to veterans,” Wentworth said Thursday afternoon as he stopped at PV’s police station before spending the night at a local lake camp site.

“God bless America, we certainly don’t do enough for our veterans.”

Adding to it all Wentworth was even given a “challenge coin” from the governor of Pennsylvania during his stop there.

This represented an official challenge for him to finish the walk across the country, even though there were at times the temptation to call it quits.

“I challenge this whole country to do more for our veterans,” he said.

For Wentworth the mission seems to add up even though he’s never served in the military.

For one he was born on an American Army base in Germany, and he’s had a number of relatives who have served.

With his heavy northeast accent Wentworth explains his work over the last few years has been as a kind of construction handyman in carpentry, roofing and plumbing.

Then it was one day last year the idea came to him — walk from “sea to shining sea” as a way to honor those who serve or have served in the military.

“Two days before I left I see these veterans on the side of the road asking for money,” he said. “After listening to their stories it seemed like they had to fight for any benefits.

“That played a big role in why I wanted to walk.”

Not really knowing what he was in for, Wentworth started his solo walk last November just before Veterans’ Day.

He started by going out on a pier stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The goal here is to walk all the way across the country with is destination being the west coast and the Pacific Ocean.

Along the way he’s met a lot of people sympathetic to his cause.

“I’ve met a lot of veterans,” Wentworth said. “Some have taken me to dinner and put me up for the night.

“I once met this veteran who had served five tours and had five Purple Hearts. He’d get shot and keeps going back to serve.

“A lot of these guys pull me to the side and ask me to promise that I won’t give up.

“Considering who I’m doing this for, giving up is not an option.”

For Wentworth he started with a backpack and he mostly just pitches a tent when it’s time for sleep.

Some days are better than others. Some days aren’t so good like the time he nearly froze to the ground when sleeping outside.

Lessons learned as he’s since tried to avoid that from happening again by getting the right equipment.

During the walk Wentworth doesn’t ask for anything, but he does estimate it costs around $30 a day just for his food and water.

“I pray an awful lot. The Lord has put me on a right path, so I’ll be OK.

More on Wentworth’s walk can be found on his Facebook page of Walking For Heroes.

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