NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six wounded soldiers from the United States and the United Kingdom are walking 1,000 miles across America in 12 weeks.
The journey began in Los Angeles, and it will end in New York City.
On Monday, the veterans stopped by Saint Thomas Sports Park, where they met the Tennessee Titans after practice.
“As soon as we found out we were getting the opportunity to come here, we were overwhelmed,” said Kev Carr, from the Royal Logistics Corps. “We normally walk at a pace of about 3 miles per hour. We stepped it up to 5 mph so we could get here faster. We can’t thank them enough."
“It is quite overwhelming, really. It is something I never thought I would be able to do. I have followed the Titans since I have been in the UK. It is a dream come true.”
The walk is taking place to raise awareness of mental health among veterans and raise vital funds to support British and American wounded veterans.
The Tennessee leg of the expedition includes a stop in Nashville, where the six walkers walked from the WWII Memorial at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, all the way to Franklin. They watched the end of Monday’s practice, and met the Titans, including quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back Derrick Henry and coach Mike Vrabel.
“It is big time,” Titans running back Dion Lewis said. “They do a lot for us, and they are the reason we are able to play the game we love. It is great to have those guys here, and what they are doing is for a great cause. They deserve all the credit.”
Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey chatted with the veterans, and even gave them tips on where to find hot chicken when in Nashville.
“They are walking across the country doing their thing,” Casey said. “It’s an honor to meet them, and spent time with them. I am glad to have them out here, and I thank coach Vrabel for bringing them in.”
With Prince Harry and Dr. Jill Biden as respective UK and US Patrons, the Walk Of America expedition brings together three US and three UK wounded veterans. Having all struggled with their mental health post military service, they are all eager to share their personal journeys from injury to the present day and strike up a wider conversation around mental health. The expedition is raising funds for veterans’ charities in both countries and also awareness of the issues veterans face.
Donations to “Walking With The Wounded” can be made in person or online at www.walkofamerica.com.
“That group reached out and said they were coming through Nashville,” Vrabel said. “Any time that we can help our men and women in the armed forces, or those people that are trying to help some of those veterans, we are going to be all behind, and be for. We are going to let them come on our field, and we are going to talk to them, take pictures with them, and thank them for what they are doing.
“They are walking 15 to 20 miles a day. The least we can do is practice for two hours.”
The Titans welcomed six wounded veterans from the US and UK as they arrived in Nashville during their 1,000 mile walk across the US to raise awareness of mental health among veterans. (Photos: Gary Glenn)