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

Two men trek cross country to help veterans

Posted June 20, 2016 by Jaclyn Clark
  • Two men trek cross country to help veterans
  • Stan Polanski Daily News
  • Jun 2, 2016

Two men in the midst of a cross-country trek to raise money for veterans and their families stopped in Effingham this week.

"The support that we've had is incredible," said David Roth, one of those journeymen, while getting lunch at the Gabby Goat in Effingham Thursday.

Since leaving Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 28, Roth, along with Kevin Winton, have walked west on U.S. Route 40, going about 30 miles per day. In a few months, the two plan to end their trip in San Francisco, California, where they'll have completed a 3,091-mile trek.

The two journeymen are members of the military nonprofit, Helping Hands For Freedom, and are trying to raise enough money for a house of healing. That would provide professional support and therapy for veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life and for those grieving the loss of a service member.

The fundraising goal for the house of healing is $3.6 million and, so far, the nonprofit is 10 percent of the way there.

Roth and Winton said they both began the grueling 4-1/2-month walk with their own personal stories as motivators. But as they moved from town to town and heard people share their stories, the two say they have plenty of reasons to endure blisters, muscle soreness, heavy rains, sweltering heat, and all that comes with a cross-country walk.


"The tears just roll down your face," Roth, a veteran of the Indianapolis Police Department, said of hearing some of the stories.

Anyone who would like to donate for the military nonprofit's cause can do so at According to the "Route for the Brave" Facebook page, which tracks Winton and Roth as they travel west, the two will be traveling through Vandalia and then Pocahontas next.

Elizabeth Howze was Roth and Winton's server Thursday at the Gabby Goat. Howze, who spent four years in the Marine Corps, said she appreciated the work that the two gentlemen were doing for veterans and their families.

"I'm highly impressed," she said. "I've lost two marines who died after returning home. I'm taken aback. We're extremely blessed to have people out here doing things like this for us."

Stan Polanski can be reached at or 217-347-7151 ext. 131.


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