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Jerry Meadows will begin a walk from Sisseton through Britton to Aberdeen next Wednesday to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Program as well as to raise awareness of veterans’ issues. This photo was taken on a similar recent walk in Minnesota.

‘Road Walker’ Will Travel Through Britton

He has been dubbed the “Road Walker,” and Jerry Meadows takes pride in that title.

The Sisseton resident will be hitting the road beginning at 8 a.m. next Wednesday, July 31, on a journey that will take him from Sisseton down SD Highway 10 through Lake City and Britton to Aberdeen. But it won’t be a quick road trip – he’s walking.

Meadows is a Vietnam veteran, serving in the Air Force from 1975-79, and this is the second time he has walked in support of the Wounded Warriors Project and to bring attention to veterans issues – and probably his last.

You see, Meadows isn’t just battling Mother Nature on his 100-mile trek. He’s also bucking health issues.

“I’ve had a triple bypass, 10 cardiac stents, and have an enlarged heart and COPD,” noted Meadows. “I have to make this journey on oxygen, and some folks think I’m nuts.”

His first trip was a 215-mile walk from Bemidji to St. Cloud, MN. Meadows raised $7,000 through donations on that trip, and he has a goal to hit $10,000 to be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. Donations can be made by going to the following web site: Bit.ly/2XK9SBf and going to the Wounded Warrior donate page. Funds can also be sent to Wounded Warriors Project, PO Box 758516, Topeka, KS, 66675, with the memo, “Road Walker.”

But for Meadows, the trip is about much more than his personal hardships or raising money. He’s doing it for his “brothers.”

“I’m a veteran, and veterans don’t quit,” stressed Meadows. “They don’t quit loving other veterans. When things were going badly over there I wasn’t thinking about my wife or kids or anything like that, I was thinking about the guy right next to me. It didn’t matter if they were black, green, or purple, they were your closest family.”

The “Road Warrior” emphasized that he is not on the road to make any political statements, but he strongly believes that more needs to be done for veterans.

“Before history can move forward, and do it in a positive light, we have to change some things in our past,” explained Meadows. “People are fighting for us right now, and in the morning somebody is going to get flown back because he doesn’t have an arm. Freedom does not come free – it’s expensive.”

Meadows believes there has been progress made but veterans need additional care.

“Veterans are now getting better care but are still not getting proper care. The volume of veterans is overflowing our doctors in the VA system.”

Meadows is also quick to point out that his walk is a team effort. His wife, Virginia, follows behind, driving a Jeep at about 1.5 miles per hour with American and Wounded Warrior flags flying.

“She has been so supportive and keeps me focused and motivated. She will not let me cheat one inch. I tried in Minnesota and it didn’t work! I could not do this without her.”

He has aligned himself with the Wounded Warriors Project because of its mission for families.

“The national divorce rate within seven years of marriage is 50 percent, but if you’re married, go into the military, and come back without a limb, you have an 80 percent chance of divorce,” said Meadows. “The Wounded Warriors Project picked up on that, and they are the only organization now that just doesn’t help veterans but also helps the wife, kids, and family.”

Meadows knows that his $10,000 raised is not going to cover a whole lot. But he does hope his example will go much further.

“When this veteran gets to Aberdeen, I can go home and say, ‘You know what, me and a bunch of other people did something good and made a small difference.’ My hope is to let other people know that sometimes we have to do things like this to keep things in balance, and we’re raising awareness.

“Some think I’m just an eccentric old man that is going to kill himself in the heat, but they don’t know my heart. There are kids out there right now that are fighting and giving me the ability to do what I’m about to do, and it’s time for everybody to come together.

“This is going to do it,” concluded Meadows. “My health won’t allow me to do this anymore. But even after it’s over I am still going to continue to fight for the veterans who come home.”

Marshall County Journal

PO Box 69, Britton, SD 57430
Phone: (605) 448-2281
Fax: (605) 448-2282