Walking America’s longest road on a ‘humbling’ mission for those who never made it home
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Justin LeHew and Coleman Kinzer marched long distances as U.S. Marines.
Now the decorated combat veterans are on a hike to end all hikes.
They’re walking 3,365 miles from one end of the U.S. mainland to the other.
“Every Marine that I have ever known has never made a career out of taking shortcuts,” LeHew said.
The retired sergeant majors are following U.S. Highway 20 that cuts through 12 states. It’s America’s longest road.
“Walking down the U.S. highway you see the shadows and whispers of a Golden Age.” Kinzer said.
The trek has a solemn purpose.
Kinzer and LeHew are raising funds to recover and return remains of service members missing in action. There are about 81,600 still unaccounted for dating back to World War II.
“The United States made a promise to these families who gave their children in all of these different wars. They said that we will not leave them. We will not forget about them,” LeHew said.
LeHew is CEO of History Flight, the world’s most successful private search and recovery organization. Kinzer is part of the team. The non-profit has recovered hundreds of sets of service members’ remains.
“Out of 389, we have 160 positive identifications, with those remains returned back to their families,” LeHew said.
The pair has planned the walk for years. Since they set out from Boston Harbor on June 6, they’ve averaged 20 miles day, packing their supplies and sleeping under the stars.
“Your body starts to remember what it was like to march under your load,” Kinzer said. “It’s one of those things where you rapidly adapt to it.”
Word of their mission is spreading through social media and growing a following on their website, where donations can be made to the crowdfunding campaign.
“It truly is humbling when an American will give you the last dollar out of their pocket because it matters so much to them to do it,” LeHew said.
Kinzer lives in Hawaii. LeHew lives in Virginia.
They hope to complete their quest by Thanksgiving, walking the Long Road for the thousands of Americans who never made it home.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.