By Linda Kor
Two former Marines walking across the country to bring awareness of soldiers who have been injured both physically and mentally while serving their country are seeing a slice of America that’s restoring their faith in the kindness of strangers.
Christopher Senopole and Adam Shatarsky began their trek in Camp Pendelton, Calif., both feeling a need to shed the daily routine of life and move forward into something that had meaning in their lives. The two men, alone and on foot, began their trek just two months after the idea was conceived.
The first test of their determination came in the first weeks of their journey.
“We had a support vehicle, but it died about 10 miles into the Mohave Desert and it’s just been us since then,” explained Shatarsky. Seeing the bright side of the unfortunate turn of events, the men related how the woman who stopped to assist them asked them if they would like to visit a Boy Scout camp that her brother was at and teach the boys. “That was a great experience,” recalled Shatarsky.
Both men served four years in the Marine Corps and have been friends since first signing up.
“I really wanted to see if America was as nice as I thought, and it is. You know, life can make you pretty cynical but these people change your mind. The best part of this whole venture has been the people,” said Shatarsky.
Traveling 20 to 30 miles each day, the men already show the wear of the road with their feet blistered and torn, and toe nails falling off. But the two friends push each other through each mile.
“From about noon until 2, Chris will kind of drag, and about three miles out of the next town, I start to get cranky; we just keep pushing each other along,” he explained.
As the men arrived in Winslow, they found a favorite destination, the Sonic. “All I saw was a town around a Sonic,” said Shatarsky. Once they had their fill of icy cold drinks, the men were able to focus on their surroundings and discovered the city’s 911 Memorial Park. “That was really something,” recalled Senopole.
Heading back out on the road the men found unexpected hospitality in the small community of Joseph City. Through a chain of phone calls and Facebook queries by residents, the men found themselves with the Alan Palmer family, enjoying a hot meal and a comfortable bed. The next day was Fourth of July and the men participated in the local festivities prior to heading out to their next destination, Holbrook.
Fully covered in long sleeved shirts, hats, sunglasses and cotton scarves to fend off the sun and only enough supplies to carry them to their next destination, the only extra piece of equipment they carry is a solar charger that allows them to charge their electronic devices and post their daily activity on their Facebook page, The Wounded Walk.
Over the weekend the men continued on to their next destination as they make their 2,700-mile trek to Washington, D.C.
Shatarsky related, “If this walk makes the life of one person easier, it was worth it all”.
By Linda Kor