Veteran Walking State to Raise Awareness

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By Amy Fox
By Jared Roberts

WSIL -- One Illinois man has always dreamed of giving back to his fellow Vietnam veterans, and now he's making that dream a reality.  Bill Trow is walking the length of Illinois from south to north in just 19 days.

As cars and trucks drive up and down Highway 51, you'll find one man who's marching to the beat of his own drum. 

"I retired about a year ago, and I came up with the idea that I wanted to try to raise some funds for the Vietnam Veterans of America to try to help out guys that weren't as fortunate as I was," said Vietnam veteran Bill Trow.

As a way of giving back, Trow is walking 435 miles across the state of Illinois to raise awareness for Vietnam veterans everywhere.

"I started down at point Cairo Sunday morning and I'm walking up Highway US 51 all the way up to the Wisconsin border," said Trow. "I plotted out the points I need to stay, how much I could cover each day , and zeroed in on those towns."

So far, Trow has collected about $18,000 in donations. 

Trow said, "Every dollar that is contributed or raised or funded, goes directly to help lesser fortunate Vietnam veterans that are still having physical problems and mental problems from the experiences they had."

Word is traveling fast. Donations have been coming in steadily since Trow began his journey on Sunday.

"A lot of people I don't even know have called my phone and are pledging towards my walk, so I'm hoping, maybe, I can get to $20,000," said Trow.

But, it takes support and encouragement from every community Trow passes through to make his trip a success. Tuesday night, he's staying at the Haven on Crab Orchard Lake.

 "The Haven is for our veterans, for our military to use any way they see fit.  And, if we can help out on his travels to fill this out, that would be wonderful," said Sherry Rix, caretaker at the Haven.

As Trow continues to walk towards his final destination, he's reminded of the bond he shares with his brothers every step of the way.

To make a pledge, you can email Bill at: w.trow@comcast.net.  He does not have access to his email right now.  But once he is back home, he will respond to all emails.

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