Troy Yocum returned from Iraq with a first hand view of a problem facing many military families. Lack of finances. Not finances to buy a new car, or boat, or second house, but finances to just pay extra bills, or the latest project, to raise money for a military family that lost their home in this spring’s rash of tornados. Troy’s first hand knowledge came from a close friend, who, upon returning to the states after a deployment in Iraq, found that his job was no longer available because the company was closing down. It is these circumstances that Troy and his team are trying to help, circumstances that are beyond anyone’s control. Every military family isn’t living in poverty, but the increase in veterans returning from war has caused many families to experience financial stress largely due to unprecedented medical costs that are not always covered by the VA or other medical insurance.
Troy, his wife, Mareike, and two dogs, Emmie the Superdog, and Harley the Comedian, have a goal of raising $5 million by the end of his 7000 mile journey. Along the way, veterans and civilians alike are donating to the cause, some by giving money, others by offering places to stay as Troy and his troop walk through town, and some just by spreading the word that someone is doing something. All donations are being handled by the Make a Wish foundation, which is taking application from military and veteran families to receive a portion of the funds being raised. Make a Wish does require proof of service, and the hardship which the family is claiming warrants the need for a little extra help. Any questions about this process, or the possibility of your eligibility, should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are multiple ways to follow the progress that Troy and his crew are making. The Hike for our Heroes facebook page is very active, with Troy or Emmie posting updates. These often include the latest projects which they feel deserve attention, or expressing their thanks for a special overnight stay provided by a supportive family. Yes, Emmie the Superdog posts on facebook. She is a Superdog, after all. Notably, Emmie, a Shiba Inu, has walked nearly as many miles as Troy has walked; her only restriction is that on very hot days her wonderful thick coat works against her and she must ride in the van to stay cool. Along the course of the trip, Harley the Comedian, a little Chihuahua with a vivacious personality, joined the family, and her goal is to walk a total of 100 miles. Thats a long way for such a little dog! Harley, with the help of Mareike, stays active on twitter, and can be followed @WalkAcrossUSA.
There are several ways to help this courageous veteran and the cause he is spreading. You can sponsor a mile, or several miles, or hundreds of miles if you are able! To sponsor a mile, visit the Sponsor a Mile Hike for Heroes page on the Make a Wish website. You can also mail a check to the Make a Wish foundation, sent to:
Wish Upon A Hero Foundation
1640 Nixon Drive, Suite 336
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Be sure to specify that you want your donation to go for Troy’s cause by writing “Hike” in the memo section.
Photo of Troy and Emmie Copyright owned by Drum Hike. It is used with their permission.