Man on trek across U.S. stops in Bryant
Before he left Boston, Carl Wentworth said he did not really think out his idea to walk across the country in honor of veterans.
Two days after deciding to travel from "sea to shining sea," he started walking.
Wentworth, whose father retired from the Army after serving for 22 years, came up with the idea after he encountered difficulty in obtaining a proper military burial for his father.
"I'm walking to support our troops in honor of our veterans, all of them," she said.
He said he does not agree with the way veterans are treated when they come home from war.
"They fight for our freedom and then come home and fight for benefits," he said.
His first stop on the trek was a detour to visit his father's grave in the Long Island National Cemetery.
This detour cost him about a week's time, he said.
Carrying all of his necessities in a backpack, he walks about 20 to 30 miles a day. He picks the next closest city and heads that way. Along the way, he got stuck in snow, met lots of people and his backpack turned into a cart from all the gifts he received from people.
A Navy veteran walked with him for a couple of miles and gave him a military medal that he pinned to the front of his cart.
A woman gave him the Bible that had belonged to her husband, a World War II veteran.
In the beginning, Wentworth said his faith was not very strong, but has been strengthened by the experience. When someone asks if he knows where he is going next, he points upward and says, "He does."
At times when he is at a fork in the road, he says, "All right, God, you decide." Then he flips a coin.
He documents his journey on a Facebook page called "Walking for Heroes." The page has more than 5,000 likes.
Now, six months after he started his trek, he is in Bryant.
Danielle Ashcraft, a head nurse at Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics, and her husband Shane, a veteran, have followed Wentworth on Facebook. The family found him in town, gave him a box of MREs and referred him to Horton's Orthotics and Prosthetics Lab Inc., where he met with Don McGowen.
He spent Wednesday night at La Quinta Inn in Bryant.
McGowen created custom orthotics for Wentworth to place in his shoes.
Originally Wentworth's next stop was to be Oklahoma City, but the recent tornadoes changed that. Timberland, a footwear company, had donated a pair of boots to Wentworth. The boots were scheduled to arrive Saturday, which meant Wentworth would have been near the tornado's path of destruction. However, the boots were delayed.
Since then, Wentworth has changed his plans. His next stop now will be Dallas.