3,000-mile walk to raise money for veterans residence

GREENFIELD — A 3,000-mile walk will bring Dave Roth and Ken Winton to the heart of Greenfield in late May, and the pair hopes that trek will bring residents to the heart of their cause.

They are walking to raise money for a retreat home for military families, and they’re hoping Greenfield will rally behind them. Roth, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer whose stepson is serving his fifth deployment, and Winton, a Beech Grove School teacher, are participating in Route for the Brave, a walk across America that begins April 28 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and ends in San Francisco in late August. The Hoosiers will walk all 3,091 miles along U.S. 40.

Just before Memorial Day, the pair plans to arrive in Greenfield, and they’re looking for support from the community through donations and fellowship. Dellen Automotive has already donated a vehicle to the cause, said Roth.

Roth and Paul Gable, communications director for Route for the Brave, appeared before Greenfield City Council this week to talk about the initiative.

The walk aims to raise money for Helping Hands for Freedom, a nonprofit that supports military families during deployment and after death or injury. Helping Hands is raising funds to build a retreat home for military men and women and their families.

The retreat house will serve as a safe place where veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can go to readjust to civilian life with their families. While there, veterans and their family members will receive the counseling they need in a supportive environment, according to a Helping Hands for Freedom news release.

The retreat house will also be open to families of service men and women who have died while serving their country.

For families whose loved one has died, the retreat home will serve as a place for them to stay and begin to heal as they wait for death benefits to kick in.

A location for the retreat home has yet to be picked, but sites are being considered include Kentucky, Arizona and Indiana, Roth said.

The men are taking leaves of absence from work to orchestrate the walk, which is expected to end in San Francisco on Aug. 26. They’re walking coast to coast and hope people across the country will join them when they arrive in cities along the route.

“Walk a mile with us, say hello,” Roth said.

Hancock County residents may also donate to the cause at classy.org/fundraise/get-involved?cid=23953.

Gable told the council the walk would take the men right outside the doors of city hall, and he hoped to see a lot of community support. Every day, the Helping Hands organization receives calls from military families who need help, especially military men and women who are suffering from PTSD.

“For us, this is personal,” he said. “When we get that first family in that first house, this whole endeavor will be worth it.”

At a glance

To donate to Route for the Brave, which is raising money to build a retreat home for military families, visit classy.org/fundraise/get-involved?cid=23953. 

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.