MORRIS COUNTY, N.J. (PIX11) — With a cart full of essentials, the shoes on his feet, and old glory waving in the wind, a 24-year-old man is walking across America for an important cause.
“I’ve always been passionate about helping veterans,” said Tommy Pasquale, of Randolph.
Inspired in part by the long line of distinguished veterans in his family, Pasquale decided to embark on a life-changing journey to benefit the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
“On any given night in this country, there [are] 38,000 veterans who go to sleep homeless,” he said. “I think that’s just an unacceptable number in a country that’s this great.”
His GoFundMe has already raised more than $30,000 for the nonprofit, with the goal of getting to $100,000.
“Hopefully something good will come out of it for some of our brave men and women,” said Pasquale.
His journey began in September at the Jersey Shore. Since then, he has walked nearly 1,000 miles and has already gone through many shoes. He’s traveled through rural Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and most recently, Nashville, Tennessee.
“I’ve definitely seen a lot of things and learned a lot of things, not only about myself but also the world around me,” said Pasquale. “A lot of things seem impossible. Some days I wake up, especially before I start walking, and think, ‘Oh man, this is nuts what you’re doing Tom, what are you doing, you should be back home with a normal job.'”
He expects to pick up the pace once he reaches the flatter states, like Oklahoma. His finish line awaits him in California, which he’s expected to reach in the spring.
“I’m expecting that when I reach the Pacific Ocean and I’ve gone from sea to shining sea, I’m going to take a dip in that ocean and I anticipate that’s going to be one of the better feelings of my life,” said Pasquale.
He’s documenting his journey on social media, particularly on his Instagram, @Tommy_Walks_America, and hopes to inspire others to help those who have served us.