Bostonian raises money for vets while walking the US
With more than 1,000 miles to his back, 71-year-old Air Force veteran William Shuttleworth neared the halfway point of his 3,000-mile journey as he passed through Cameron.
Gusts from passing cars, trucks and tractor trailers offered a slight reprieve from the 90-degree temperatures as Shuttleworth crossed into Cameron along Highway 36, but a little heat is not going to stop Shuttleworth from completing his journey.
“I’m walking from my hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to raise awareness, advocacy and develop a better action plan for our veterans,” Shuttleworth said. “I’m concerned that 50 veterans kill themselves every day. One out of four people you see today that are homeless are veterans. I’m terribly concerned how poor the medical delivery service is and I decided, instead of complaining about it, I would walk coast to coast to build an advocacy plan and grassroots coalitions to partner with me and get veterans what they need.”
Although departing his home town in May, Shuttleworth said his journey began much earlier than that. While working for California state park in 2018, Shuttleworth came across a homeless encampment and became sickened by how many of them served in the armed forces. He later started his website, vetsdontforgetvets.com, and used his walk across the country advocate: guaranteed medical and mental health treatment within 30 days for all veterans, eliminating length of service requirements for those drafted, eliminating veteran homelessness and many other veteran-related issues.
“I’ve had fantastic adventures. In Mount Sterling, Illinois I had the opportunity to build a home for a veterans in one day,” Shuttleworth said. “In the morning it was a cement slab and in the afternoon the young man moved in. I did church services for veterans on Memorial Day. I visited a veterans that was on hospice care.”
Various Elks Club Lodges throughout Missouri also assisted Shuttleworth on his journey, offering lodging and other assistance as he traveled through the Show-Me state. The Cameron Elks Lodge provided Shuttleworth a dinner and intended to purchase him a room at the Cameron Days Inn, but management refused – telling Elks Lodge Member Roger Foreman “[Shuttleworth] is walking for veterans so he’s walking for us,” then provided his room free of charge.
“We had our annual Flag Day ceremony Sunday and a lady called us out of the blue from Denver and talked about this veteran named William walking from Boston across the country,” said Charlie Carroll, exalted ruler of the Cameron Elks Lodge. “He was just on the west side of Hannibal and wanted to know if we could help him make it across the state. We just so happen to have lodges in Macon, Brookfield, Chillicothe and Cameron … I told him, I can get him across Missouri, but when he gets to Kansas he’s on his own. [The Days Inn] did a really nice gesture there. It’s amazing what kind of shape that guy is in. He’s a survivor and a pretty tough. He’s trying to raise $100,000 before he gets to California.” and when he hit Monroe City he was a little over $41,000.