Veteran walks through county as part of journey across countryBy Stephen Dawkins Published 2:38pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Military veteran Mac McQuown is walking through Chilton County as part of an ambitious quest to visit all 50 state capitals.
McQuown is on his way to Montgomery. He expects to arrive on July 29. The last capital he visited was Atlanta. After he leaves Alabama, he’ll make his way to Jackson, Miss. and other capitals for about five more years to conclude the journey.
McQuown stayed overnight Monday at the Thorsby Fire Department, and he’ll spend Tuesday night at Clanton Fire Station No. 2.
For most of the first part of his journey, McQuown has stayed overnight at various fire departments. He’s also had families take him into their home for a night, or pay for him a hotel room.
McQuown, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Army reservist, began his journey in Virginia, his home state, on Sept. 11, 2011.
“When 9/11 happened, the thing I began to notice was our veterans coming home from conflict were being quickly forgotten,” McQuown said. “As a veteran, it didn’t sit well with me.”
So, he set out to bring awarness to veterans’ issues.
McQuown had logged 2,285 miles as of the beginning of the day Tuesday. He’s visited the state capitals of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
Once he reaches a capital, McQuown walks to the top of the stairs leading to the capitol building, stands and salutes for 5 minutes.
“That’s me honoring everyone who has served,” he said.
Then, McQuown kneels and prays for 5 minutes.
“That’s my paying tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
McQuown encouraged anyone interested in walking the final steps to the Alabama capitol building to meet him at the intersection of Perry Street and Dexter Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. on July 29.
With the majority of his 15,000-plus-mile trip still remaining, the veteran said he’s already been through five pairs of shoes and lost 50 pounds.
“I love what I’m doing,” McQuown said.
For more about McQuown’s journey, visit his website at www.OperationWalkAmerica.org or Facebook page at Facebook.com/MacMcQuownWalking.