WWII Vet To Walk 100 Miles For His 100th Birthday To Raise Money For The Salvation Army

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WWII Vet To Walk 100 Miles For His 100th Birthday To Raise Money For The Salvation Army
Self

World War II veteran Mickey Nelson pledged to walk 100 miles to raise money for The Salvation Army for his 100th birthday. 

At the end of May, Nelson first started his plan with the hope of raising $5,000 to help those who are struggling to provide for their families during the Covid-19 pandemic. He wants to make sure that no one goes hungry. 

Nelson got the idea from Captain Tom Moore, another World War II veteran, who did something similar by raising money by walking 100 laps of his backyard garden for his 100th birthday. He raised over 40 million dollars for the U.K.'s National Health Service. 

Nelson wanted to see if he could do the same thing in the United States.

He told People Magazine, "This was the direction God was leading me. I have since learned that the requests for food assistance from the Salvation Army has risen over 900% during the COVID-19 pandemic, so this fundraiser came at just the right time."

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As a person who grew up during the Great Depression, Nelson said he understands how hard it can be for families to put food on the table. Fortunately, his parents were able to preserve their homegrown fruits and veggies while also hunting and fishing to keep food on the table. Nelson's parents also were frugal, so they did not necessarily go without, but they did not splurge either. 

Nelson, seeing so many people and children going hungry across the United States, knew he had to do something. 

People today don't have access or opportunities to grow their own gardens or hunt for their food as they could during the Great Depression. We are only really getting our food from the grocery stores mostly now, so it's a lot harder when production lines get disrupted and the people cannot get the products that they need. 

So, during this coronavirus pandemic, Nelson was challenged by his daughters to raise money to help those in need. Feed the Hungry is a program dedicated to making sure those who are going hungry are finding food, especially children.

"Dad has a heart for anyone struggling to put food on the table and during the COVID-19, there has been a lot of people needing help. He saw the long lines people were waiting in to obtain a box of food for their family for the week. It reminded him of the food lines he heard about during the Great Depression," Michelle Kelm, Nelson's daughter, told People Magazine. "Dad feels especially blessed that he has never had to worry about having enough food for the family to eat and realized that he could do something to help."

He first thought that it would be awesome to meet his $5,000 goal, but now, his cause has raised almost $96,000!

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Every day Nelson goes on walks and he will not stop until he hits a grand total of 100 miles. And as more money continues to pour in, he only gains more incentive to keep going. 

He explained to People Magazine that his age is not what is holding him back, it's the weather in Minnesota, his home state. "The only challenge I have faced during my walking are the rainy days," and, "Sometimes I skip walking on the rainiest days and make up for it on other days."

It's awesome that he has the spirit to go out and do something as amazing as walking 100 miles! 

Kelm said, "Dad has had absolutely no reservation nor hesitation. He already was an active walker, so he knew he could accomplish it physically."

Nelson said, "My daughter reads the comments, notes, dedications, and heartwarming stories that people send to me on the Salvation Army Fundraising website and on Facebook," and "I walk in honor of or in memory of someone’s loved one most every day. That definitely inspires me."

What a great way to find inspiration by looking to all the people he has touched for doing something as great as walking to feed the hungry. 

As of Thursday, June 18th, he had completed half of his challenge by walking 50 miles. He is striving each day to complete his goal of 100 miles, but not before his birthday. 

Nelson turned 100 on June 27th. He's looking forward to celebrating such a milestone, pun intended, with his family and friends. 

Nelson said, "Turning 100 has been quite a ride! On my birthday, I am beyond blessed and incredibly grateful to be able to celebrate with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,"

But, for his birthday, his one greatest wish this year would be he says, "is that I will be able to hug and be with my wife, Marguerite because we have been separated three months due to COVID-19 as she is in a nursing home."

So, let's make him feel all of our love for his birthday and pray that he and his wife will be able to see each other again soon. 

What a true inspiration and expression of love he shows the world in a time when we all need some positivity.

As God said in the Ten Commandments, "love thy neighbor," and that is exactly what Nelson is doing right now and inspiring the world to help others as well.

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Emily Francos is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.