Exactly a year ago, we started documenting the story of Paul Gaumond, a retired vet who was preparing to walk the 2,190 miles along the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail is the 3rd longest trail in the United States, ranging from Maine to Georgia. It covers 14 states, and a year ago, Paul estimated twelve months ago, it would take him five months to complete his journey.
The reasoning behind him embarking on this somewhat mammoth journey was to raise $25,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
The 59-year-old told us last April: “I will be raising funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to ensure the children of fallen soldiers from Special Operations have funding for their college education. 100% of the donations will go to the foundation.”
Fast-forward a year, and Paul is in the midst of the hike, having so far walked 720 miles in five weeks — and he is inching closer to his fundraising goal, having so far received $19,266 in donations.
The trek hasn’t been an easy one so far, though.
“I’m walking 8 to 12 hours, 25 to 35 miles a day, and I’ve dropped 8 pounds because I am burning 5,000 to 6,000 calories per day from walking,” Paul tells Kindness and Hope.
And, nature’s elements haven’t been so kind.
“There have been three snow storms, there’s been knee-deep snow and the elements make it harder. I would love to see sunshine, see spring weather,” Paul relays from the Appalachian Trail.
“I’m just staying focused. I’m feeling good,” he adds.
Paul expects he will reach his destination in August and he has been particularly touched by the support he has received as he awakes every morning to walk… and walk.
“What makes this so special for me is that people call me up and ask me to make a t-shirt with their son’s birth date and death date, those who lost their lives serving for the country. Vets come up to me in the car park and hand me $20 to $40 and I put it straight into my GoFundMe account to help the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.”
He adds “The further I go, the more special it gets.”
Paul’s mission is resonating with so many — on his Facebook page, one recent comment read: “Hey Paul I’m a good friend of Gio’s and heard about your Appalachian Trail thru hike. Wow! I am looking forward to living it vicariously through your posts and photos! I would love to do the AT or PCT one day when I retire which is 2-3 years away. Way to go!”
Join us in supporting Paul’s mission, which will send the funds allocated for college scholarships for the surviving children of fallen Special
Operations Service Members; family and educational counseling, including in-home tutoring; and an immediate $5,000.00 financial grants to severely combat wounded Special Operations Service Members.
To donate, use this direct link: www.gofundme.com/Paul-gaumond
We can all create change and make a difference.
Paul is featured in the video below: