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Iowa men walking across America to support veterans

KCCI Des Moines logo KCCI Des Moines 5/21/2018

Matt Andersen and Trevor Stephens met playing football in seventh grade. They never imagined they'd be walking coast to coast together.

"When we first started walking we thought how hard could it be?" Andersen said.

KETV reports the two Council Bluffs men are walking across America. It's a nearly 3,000-mile journey that started more than two months ago on the East Coast.

"We've been in Delaware and D.C. and Virginia, " Andersen said.

They walk add a pace of about three miles per hour.

"We've also been in West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and now Iowa," Stephens said.

The trip was his idea.

"One of the biggest things I learned from the Marine Corps was to appreciate everything, and that's kind of one of the big things that's happened on this journey," Stephens said.

After four years of service, deployments overseas, Stephens still felt a need to serve when he left the Marine Corps in January. The walk is a way to raise money for the Purple Heart Foundation, which is a program supporting veterans.

a group of people standing on the side of a road © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc.

"it's been really crazy. It's honestly nothing like we expected it was gong to be," he said.

The two have weathered snow, cold, and storms they'd never even heard of.

"NorEasters. I learned those can be bad," Stephens said.

They've waded through floodwater and felt the pain of nearly not stop blistered feet.

"You just pop them and tape them and keep walking," Andersen said.

But despite the pain, they never forget about the purpose. Which is why they have no regrets.

"I'm really glad we're doing it," Stephens said. "There's so much we're seeing. America is a beautiful place with generous people."

The two made it into Council Bluffs last week. They spent a few days with family and friends, and are now back walking.

"Denver will be next. We'll go through some mountains to Grand Junction, south to Utah and through the desert in Nevada as quickly as possible," Andersen said.

The walk through the desert will contain a near 100 mile stretch with sand, sun and almost nothing else.

"We won't be able to restock our supplies. Nothing. No food. No stores," Stephens said.

After that, its' the home stretch into California and their final destination, San Fransisco. They expect to be there by the late August or early September.

"It's totally worth it. We're raising money and hopefully helping. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Stephens said.

You can follow the journey on Facebook. They've set up a page called Matt and Trevor's Walk Across America. They also have a GoFundMe page where they're collecting donations. They've nearly reached $3,000 of their $5,000 goal.

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