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Walking for fellow veterans

October 7, 2013 - Mike Donahey

Two veterans of the Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign are walking from Milwaukee to Los Angeles for themselves and fellow veterans.

Anthony Anderson of West Bend, Wis., and Tom Voss of Milwaukee, began their trek Aug. 30.

The two men, who stopped in Marshalltown Sept. 22, are walking to decompress from their war experiences years ago. Both men saw combat. Anderson, of the Wisconsin National Guard, served two separate tours. Voss, an Army veteran, said his squad leader and platoon sergeant were killed in action.

Additionally, they are walking to raise awareness of veterans dealing daily with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, military suicides, and importantly, raise $100,000 for Dryhootch, a veterans center in Milwaukee. where veterans seeking help are served by fellow veterans. "Help a Vet Leave the War Behind," is Dryhootch's motto.

Dryhootch provides a variety of services, with an emphasis of helping veterans integrate into civilian life. Anthony is director of operations for the not-for-profit while Voss is a former vice president.

Both said that after returning home from Iraq, they jumped into the world of work and school without giving themselves enough time to adjust to their new, post-military, post-combat lives. Staff at Dryhootch, especially Vietnam veterans, can help ease veterans fighting the War on Terror back into the every day world they said.

The two over nighted at the Iowa Veterans Home while in town and got a hot meal and slept in a real bed instead of a sleeping bag, courtesy of Mike Hines, staff assistant at IVH. Anderson and Voss also visited with Hines and residents before continuing their walk.

A Des Moines man has been especially generous, he was letting the men stay overnight in his house for a week while they walked during the day. "He would drop us off in the morning and then return to pick us up after 20 miles of walking every day," Anderson said.

It has been slow going at times for the men, who are fighting blisters and weather among other factors. Anderson said today (Monday) was the first day in a month he had been pain free from blisters.

And they were excited about soon crossing the border into Nebraska. Their trip is not for the faint-of-heart. They each carry 50-pound rucksacks with camping gear and other trip essentials for the estimated 2,700 mile walk.

The men complimented Iowans they had met as being hospitable and generous.

The men plan to complete their mission by early 2014. We'll check in on Anderson and Voss every 10 days or so, and report back to readers via this blog periodically. Donate to Dryhootch by visiting or



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