TAMPA - It's often said that every journey begins with that single step. But this one is going to have a lot more.
Minutes before those first steps, we caught former army medic Matt Parrish making final preparations for his intimidating itinerary which will take him -- on foot -- from Tampa to the other side of the country. He began today a journey that will cover more than 5000 miles.
It's all to raise money for fallen heroes and their families through the auspices of the Special Operation Warriors Foundation:
"This is the 'Trek for Hope,'" explained Parrish. "The Special Operations Warrior Foundation Tampa to LA round-trip for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines."
The 31-year-old -- who hails from Georgia -- decided to leave from Tampa, where the foundation is based, to help publicize the plight families of special-ops personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The hope is that when Matt returns here sometime in June or July, he'll have about $25,000 to go into the coffers of this organization that raises about $3 million a year.
It's an organization that has helped countless kids of killed comrades by paying their way through school. Some of whom even come back to work with the foundation.
"I'm the family services and financial aid adviser so I get to work with the families who have been through the same things I have," said Melinda Petrignani. "I know what they're dealing with, and it's good to help on so many different levels."
Armed with an iPhone, a tent and a sleeping bag, Matt says he's ready for anything along the way. "I've been planning this since early December of last year," he said.
But he knows it's going to be a long, lonely road through tree-lined neighborhoods, corridors of commerce and everything in between. While he took his first hundred or so steps, I wondered aloud -- asking him how many more he's got to go.
"I don't really want to think of that really," he said. "It is a lot."
To track Matt's progress read his blog .
For more information on the Wounded Warrior Foundation click here.
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