CINCINNATI — There are people who talk about doing something, and then there’s Kenny Mintz.
“If you believe in something, go out and do something about it. That's my message,” Mintz said.
Homefront met up with Mintz as he trekked through Ohio as part of his 3,000-mile journey across the United States.
“Walking 3,000 across the country isn't easy it's an adventure and adventures are hard," Mintz said.
He’s not just walking across the country to wear out about seven pairs of Altra Lone Peak 4 shoes. Mintz is on a mission to raise awareness and see the country he served.
“This is our country I served for 34 years and so I want to come out and meet my people, the people I was fighting for, and see the land I was fighting for,” Mintz said.
The retired Army Colonel started April 1 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. with a goal to eventually make it to the sandy beaches of San Diego within seven months.
Along the route, he’s raising money for a handful of causes. First, the Pancreatic Cancer Network to help with research. He lost his mother to the disease in March 2020.
“I was thinking about how she was fighting this cancer every day and her courage and the journey she had taken, and it motivated me to want to do this,” Mintz said.
The other causes are tied to our veterans — one being particularly personal.
“The Johnny Mac Fund is one of the other charities I'm walking for, and they'll provide a grant to charities that give scholarships to children of fallen service members,” Mintz said. “I'm doing that in honor of one of the soldiers I lost as a battalion commander in Afghanistan.”
That soldier was Jordan Morris.
Mintz’s entire battalion lost 14 soldiers during a year of combat in Zharay District in Afghanistan in Kandahar Province.
The other charity benefiting from Mintz’s walk is the Independence Fund - Operation Resiliency. The nonprofit focuses on mental health and the reduction of veteran suicide. In part, they arrange company-sized unit reunions.
“The goal is to ensure the unit that experiences the battle together, experiences healing together,” according to the Independence Fund website.
His logo features a Sasquatch carrying an American flag, something he says depicts himself as the red, white and blue shows his service and those he walks for while Big Foot quite literally represents his size 12 shoes. The purple on the logo represents pancreatic cancer awareness.
A number of people have joined Mintz for a mile, two or 12. He’s had family members, strangers and even fellow West Point officers from his graduating class lace up their shoes and join the mission.
“Come walk with me is one of the battle cries if you will,” Mintz said.
Anyone who wants to join Mintz as he makes his way through Ohio and down into Kentucky and Illinois can check out his updated route on his Facebook page Kenny Walks Across America.
You will also find additional links on his Facebook page tied to his causes should you choose to donate.
If you have a veteran story to tell in your community, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can join the Homefront Facebook group, follow Craig McKee on Facebook and find more Homefront stories here.