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Man is walking across the U.S. to raise awareness for fallen and wounded soldiers

COMMUNITY-Jack Huffman is walking through our White Mountain communities in an attempt to walk across the U.S., setting a world record. He left Dana Strands, CA, on March 14, and his destination is Washington DC.

While Hoffman is on this journey, he is raising funds for fallen and wounded soldiers. What an incredible journey it is. Huffman arrived in Payson on March 27, and community members came together to provide a safe place to sleep and good food. When I heard about Huffman’s story, I started to follow his adventure. I learned that this is a journey Huffman is making by himself; there is no chase vehicle or anyone traveling with him.

He pushes a stroller-cart with 150-175 pounds of gear and supplies and walks an average of over 30-55 miles a day. And the total journey will be over 3,000 miles

Huffman's journey across 13 states.
Huffman’s journey across 13 states.

He has to be prepared to camp out at any given time in inclement weather. He left Payson on March 28. He had a very long, difficult day but arrived safely on the top of the Mogollon Rim. The elevation at the summit is 7,370 feet. He pitched his tent on snow covered ground and spent the night there. On March 29, Huffman began walking on the next leg of his journey. He arrived in Heber around 3 in the afternoon.

Members of the American Legion Arizona post 86 came out to greet Huffman and encourage him in his efforts. The people of Heber and Overgaard came together to provide him with a hotel room and a hot meal.

Interesting things that I have learned about Huffman include the fact that he has to consume approximately 8,000 calories a day. It takes a lot of food to fuel a man walking 30-50 miles daily, depending on terrain and weather conditions.

I asked Huffman what inspired him to do this. Huffman said, “It started as a personal health journey; I was fat and out of shape. I decided to change my life, so I went to work on it.” Huffman continued, “I had always wanted to walk across the United States, so after I got in shape, I did it.”

On his first walk in 2019, Huffman walked from the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach, California, to Tybee Island, Georgia. That is 2,841 miles, and he did it in 79 days. That is a remarkable accomplishment.

Huffman served in the Army for two years and comes from a Patriotic Family. His partner, Tamara Ragon, who supports him from Michigan, said, “He really gets his heart of service from his Mom. She has always been involved with the local VFW organization and is a great supporter of the military.”

Ragon and I discussed how this idea came together. She explained when Huffman decided he would do this walk in support of the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, they knew it was the right cause to support. One hundred percent of the proceeds are being donated to this Fund.

Huffman and Ragon said, “We want to show Veterans that they are not forgotten.” Tamara continued, “Red and Blue make purple, and we wanted to do this in love, light, and unity. We want to show people that America is not that divided and that anything is possible with God’s help.”

March 30, Huffman left Heber and Overgaard in the dust. Literally, since there is a strong Southwest wind blowing at his back. He is on his way to Snowflake, where he is planning to spend the night. This is a great cause to support and an excellent opportunity for children and adults to follow Huffman on his travels.

Jack Huffman walks out of Heber on his way to Snowflake.
Jack Huffman walks out of Heber on his way to Snowflake. Picture Credit: Kathy Gibson Boatman.

You can follow along on Facebook, at Jaxwalk or his website, jaxwalk.com. Watch for Huffman as he travels through our White Mountain Communities. He may appear alone as you see him walking; know that God and our continued prayers are with him on this incredible journey.

Our latest Jack sighting was on highway 277 at Zeniff Rd at 11:05 AM

Kathy Gibson Boatman

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