Air Force vet walks through Warsaw, headed for Florida for Wounded Warriors

Jerry Meadows (R) with his wife Virginia (L) taking a quick break along US 30 near Plymouth on Saturday morning. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

If you saw a old Ford Econoline van with flags driving slowly down the shoulder of US 30 this weekend, don’t worry, they aren’t broken down.

The man you saw walking in front of the van is 62-year old Jerry Meadows. He’s walking to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, who helps those who “incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.”

Meadows began last March in Bemidji, Minnesota and his final destination is the home of the WWP in Jacksonville, Florida. 750-plus miles later, Meadows, along with his wife Virginia, were seen passing through Kosciusko County.

Meadows has been through a lot in life already. He’s gone through triple-bypass, ten cardiac stints, he has an enlarged heart, and he is pulling an oxygen tank as he walks along. “I guarantee you that you will not find that in the Guinness Book of World Records. I am the only one, so far, to make that claim.”

Meadows said that there wasn’t much preparedness for the walk, he said it’s been “in his blood” to serve his county and it wasn’t a hard decision to make. “In a sense, I am still serving by supporting the veterans and I’m serving the people of this country by helping our veterans.”

He said he has had a lot of support along the way. “People have very generous, especially in Indiana. Generally, people just pull over to make sure we’re okay and I think that is so cool. Standing here seeing our colors on the van and hear people honk, it makes you feel good to be an American.”

“My wife has been my backbone… and of course I have the Wounded Warriors, they are following me every step of the way. I check in with them on a weekly basis. I have never wanted to quit, but I tell you there are times where I tell myself ‘If I rest an additional day or two, that’d be okay too!’ but I never get there.”

On a daily basis, Meadows said he doesn’t try to set a goal, but he likes to “keep my eyes on the horizon that Jacksonville is my final destination.” He said some there have been a couple days where there have been rain or snow that have cut his trips short, but generally he’s been able to go a good distance everyday.

When asked about having any issues along the way: “None, negative. Between weather, blisters and some minor back pain from walking on concrete which (made me realize) we have way too much concrete in this country.”

When asked about the amount of shoes he has gone through, he said he has gone through four pairs. “I don’t know how this is gonna sound, I know the parents are gonna like it, but I’ve had better luck out of a $20 pair of shoes rather than a $150 pair. But it all depends on the conditions of where I’m walking, I do enjoy walking on the gravel.”

You can support Jerry and his Road Walker Journey for the Wounded Warrior project by clicking here. You can also mail in a check, payable to The Wounded Warrior’s Project, P.O. Box 758541, Topeka, Kansas, 66675. On the memo section of the check, write “Road Walker – Jerry Meadows.”