NORTH SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) -- An Iraq war veteran made a special trip to North Syracuse Saturday to honor a local marine killed in Afghanistan. He came all the way from Kentucky, walking every step of the way, to raise money for veterans in need.
Troy Yocum has already walked more than 7,000 miles -- from Louisville, to Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, and Boston. He visited Syracuse to honor a marine he's never met, to thank his family and to make a promise that every story he hears along his journey will be heard and remembered.
"I'm going to make sure his story gets told to our followers so that they won't forget about him," Yocum says about Phoenix-native and Marine Corporal Kyle Schneider, who was killed in June.
Yocum’s journey is also meant to form deep bond between strangers, who are united over loss.
"It's families like Kyle’s that we met today, who really inspire me to keep going,” Yocum says. “I know that no matter what, they would always soldier on.”
The Iraq veteran still has 800 more miles to go. His finish line is back where he started, in Louisville, Kentucky. He's gone through eight pairs of shoes, and with each step there have been challenges including kidney stones, a foot infection, and a neck injury.
The goal, Yocum says, is to raise money and spirits, to motivate a nation to celebrate marines like Schneider and to help those left behind, soldier on.
"We take it step by step, breath by breath, and Troy takes it step by step across America,” Lorie Schneider, mother of Cpl. Schneider says.
This is the first time that Corporal Schneider's parents have spoken openly about their son since his death in Afghanistan on June 30th. They say each day has been difficult to get through, but they are touched by the support surrounding them.
Money raised through Yokum's Hike for Heroes will benefit the Wish Upon a Hero Foundation.