TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Brendan O’Toole started running on November 11, 2012, Veteran’s Day, and he never stopped. After 4 years of service and two deployments to Afghanistan, he wasn’t finished serving his country and those in need. O’Toole’s journey was inspired in part by one of his favorite movies in high school, Forrest Gump. “You know, when you’re in the mountains of Afghanistan, you start to get creative,”he explains.
When O’Toole returned home from serving, he had military needs. He was surprised when he was turned away by the VA system. “The VA system is backed up right now, and instead of playing the blame game we decided to find services that can help our veterans.”
O’Toole found those organizations, but then he needed to figure out how to raise money to help people like himself. He decided to start running. When he arrived in Tuscaloosa, he had already covered 7 states and he had hit his halfway mark. He was also coping with the wear-and-tear of running what will amount to 3,600 miles. In every town, O’Toole picks up donations and the occasional runner who will join him for a couple of miles.
So far, he has raised over $80,000. O’Toole’s journey will end exactly a year from the day it started in Portland, Maine. If you would like to help raise money or run a couple of miles with O’Toole, visit their facebook page for more information about where they will be, and how you can get in contact with them. https://www.facebook.com/Run4Vets?fref=ts
Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42