There are people we encounter in our lives that make us hunger to be better, to enhance our way of life, to be more like them and their convictions. They validate that one small gesture of kindness changes a life and shows us that every action taken has an effect. Not only has Mac served our great country as a United States Marine , he now continues to serve with his magnanimous commitment to military service members and Veterans through his organization and his commitment to his 15,000 mile walk. This is a huge part of what makes Americans proud! As it is said, “pay if forward” and Mac goes above and beyond the call of duty! I am honored and privileged to call him my friend. “ – Military News Journalist Donna Lyons, Washington, DC
On 9/11/11, Mac McQuown, a 50 Year old United States Marine, who proudly served from 1980-1988, set out from his home town in VA to walk to the Capital of 48 states; a walk of over 15,000 miles. He is walking to raise awareness for Veterans’ causes and raising money to help the cause through Project Foot and Veterans Miracle Network.
“I am here to bring awareness to the needs of our American heroes. They fought for our freedom and somehow seem to be forgotten as we all carry on our busy lives. They come home from war to find overly taxed system that’s not taking care of their needs. If it wasn’t for their brave and undying dedication to our country, we could not enjoy the freedom we have today. I feel like it is our responsibility to make sure they get what they need.”
As of now Mac has traveled close to 600 miles by foot, pulling his cart, since his departure on 9/11/11. Along his route he has been escorted by local fire departments from the cities where they also give him a meal and warm bed for the night. People stop along his routes to say hello and take pictures with the Mac.
Bronx native Emily Toro, who currently resides in Richmond Hill, Queens, joined McQuown on his walk from Fort Lee, New Jersey down to Ground Zero, where she presented him with the dog-tags of her son Isaac T. Cortes, an Army soldier who was killed in 2007 at age 26, eight weeks after being deployed to Iraq. Mac will wear Isaac’s tags until the last part of his walk a few years from now where he will end at Arlington National Cemetery. Once there, Mac will hand the dog tags back to Issac’s mom, Emily; a true honor.
Mac has been asked, “why such an incredible distance?” His answer is astute, “It’s about the pain and a lengthy commitment; like our troops and deployment. Coming home many of our heroes still hurt every single day and if I can live their pain and show that I want to make others mindful of their daily challenges, then I am doing what I set out to do.” This walk is Mac’s symbol of reverence to those who have sacrificed and served.
Mac McQuown, who served as a sergeant field radio operator in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines and as an embassy guard in the 2nd Bn. 1st Marines, is motivated by all the veterans who he feels don’t receive the attention they deserve. “They seem to fall through the cracks of our society and that’s a shame,” McQuown said. When the traveling becomes especially difficult, he’ll think of a veteran missing limb; “What do you or I have to complain about?”
Mac is a true testament to the strength, resilience, and the selflessness of being a steadfast Marine. He is making this walk regardless of the extreme elements, terrain, environments or complications that may come his way.