Eddie Gray’s 12,000-mile walk across the perimeter of the United States has taken a lot longer than expected.
The Marine Corps veteran took a leave of absence from his U.S. Forest Service job in April 2008 to determine if the sacrifice of veterans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq was worth the cost.
His journey started in Ashland, Mont., to the West Coast and through the nation’s southern states to Florida.
His latest stop is in Brunswick, where he arrived Tuesday. He plans to continue his journey today.
Gray has stopped in towns of all sizes. And he’s in no hurry to reach his next destination.
It took two years to walk across Texas, he said.
“I try to stay on the smaller roads. It’s safer,” he said.
During his stops, he meets with veterans groups, elected officials and anyone else that wants to discuss issues regarding veterans and those still serving. He served three years in the Marines before he was medically discharged after he was injured in a vehicle accident.
‘I make a lot of speeches at other places,” he said. “As I got farther along, more and more people wanted to talk to me.”
He contacts state officials when he nears a new state to let them know he will be walking along their highways and his reason why. He also asks for advice on the best route to take.
His swing up the East Coast is different from much of his journey because he walks though so many densely populated areas.
“It’s a continuous walk,” he said. “Here it’s more urban and there are more stops. I meet more people. It’s a good thing.”
Gray estimates it will take about 30 months to walk to Maine and start the final leg of his journey home.
He is uncertain how long it will take before he returns home.
He plans to return to his U.S. Forest Service job and write a book about the lessons learned from his journey.