Helping Hands for Freedom is a 501c3 dedicated to supporting the families of the fallen, wounded and deployed.

IMPD officer ready to embark on cross-country trip to raise awareness for military families

Posted August 4, 2015 by Jaclyn Clark

By Paul Gable, Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — At the age of 46, David Roth admits he is not going through a mid-life crisis.

Instead, he has a better explanation for his wanting to walk across the country next year.

"The objective is to have fun and highlight awareness and raise some money. If we wait too long, we will miss the adventure of a lifetime," said Roth, who is a detective with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Roth, the chairman of the board of Helping Hands For Freedom, a group aimed at helping military families, will walk 3,000 miles across the United States to raise funds for the construction of a retreat house.

"My stepson, Matt Coleman, is being deployed for the fifth time and the idea came about that way. Nothing breaks your heart more than trying to reintroduce children to their parent when they come back from being deployed. I am 40-something and in the grind of my life. There is a desire and a push to do one big adventure, and what better way than to do this," Roth said.

Roth will be participating in the Route for the Brave, which will begin on April 28, 2016, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and travel across U.S. 40 to San Francisco.

"I've always wanted to see the country. I am on the streets and my job is a romance as a beat cop with IMPD. I personally think it will be an adventure, and I can't think of a better way to do the adventure than to walk U.S. 40," Roth said.

To get ready for it, Roth has been training with former heavyweight boxing champion Lamon Brewster and has been putting in miles.

"I'm just a regular guy who neglected his health for too long. This is the biggest effort I have known. I am going to be the lucky one. I want to have fun, meet people along the way and learn about myself. I want to invite everyone to take part in the walk next year," said Roth, who got clearance from numerous doctors to embark on the journey.

Roth said his journey signifies everything that is great about America.

"I am willing to walk or die on this one, and it demonstrates what is great about America. I don't think you would be able to walk across Afghanistan. I am going to be happy and am looking to have some fun," Roth said.

While the walk is a year away, Roth said he's starting to see some momentum building.

"Each day, we get a phone call from a person wanting to donate or do an event for us. Obviously, for me, success will be completing the trip, but it won't stop there. I want to build the house that gives military families an opportunity to connect. When we get that first family and give them a place of retreat, that will be amazing. That's everything right there," Roth said.

Paul Gable is the editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Gable on Twitter @PaulGableTSN.