David Roth and Kevin Winton are committed to a cause.
Both have taken an extended leave from their jobs to embark on a 41/2-month, 3,091-mile walk across America to raise money for a “house of healing” and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder center for military families.
They began their walk April 28 in Atlantic City and will continue until they reach San Francisco, following historic U.S. 40.
The goal is $3.6 million to purchase property, construct a facility and set up a trust, and they’re about 10 percent there, Roth said.
Roth has taken a five-month voluntary leave from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, while Winton is a teacher in Beech Grove schools. “I’ve taken my own time and own dime to take the five months off to do this,” Roth said during a break at Mogger’s restaurant on Monday, as they passed through Terre Haute on the latest leg of their journey.
He and Winton are participating in the walk through Helping Hands For Freedom, a non-profit military support group with headquarters in Phoenix; Roth serves as the voluntary chairman of the board.
The goal of the “Route for the Brave” is to raise funds to build a house of healing for military families during times of loss and transition, Roth says. The facility would serve families of service members who have died, and families and veterans experiencing PTSD.
He’s inspired by his stepson, who just returned from his fifth deployment overseas and has to be “re-introduced” to his kids, Roth said. “Skype can only do so much.”
Another inspiration was a former neighbor, an Army veteran, who came back from Vietnam and “was spit on and called a babykiller” at the time. He was not well adjusted after the war, Roth said. “His kids heard about his heroism during the Vietnam war at his funeral.”
The whole family “is the important link for Helping Hands and the Route for the Brave,” Roth said.
The house of healing will be “a place where families can come and get away and address their issues,” he said. The issue might be financial, or it might involve a child having learning or social problems because a parent in the military has been gone for a long time.
A location has not yet been decided, but those involved would like to see it locate in central Indiana; they’ve had support from mayors in Richmond, Shelbyville and Greenfield. “We want to take advantage of the best opportunity,” and there are several possibilities, he said. He hopes to make an announcement July 4 while in Denver, Colorado.
Those wanting more information or to make donations can go to the following website: routeforthebrave.org.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at email@example.com. Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.
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