His original intent was to head to what he called "sea to shining sea" from Boston, west to Los Angeles. However, after heading south to visit his nephew in Connecticut, he then continued to New York and the Long Island National Cemetery where his father is buried. That gave him the inspiration to walk to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. From there his journey went south through the Carolinas and into Georgia, trying to escape the snow, before now heading west along I-20 past Newton and Rockdale.
Along the way he is stopping at veteran’s memorials and posting hundreds of pictures of the people he meets along the way, with messages of thanks to veterans on his Facebook page, facebook.com/walkingforheroes.
His goal is to remind people of our fighting men and women in the past and present. He is not accepting donations for soldiers, but rather telling people to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, Vets for Vets or Feed a Hungry Vet.
"I first started the Facebook page walking for heroes, and said, ‘I’m going to get as many pictures as I can of the people thanking veterans,’" Wentworth said. "I was hoping if I could get enough coverage when I made it to Los Angeles, maybe McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts or some national business I stopped in would donate. They donate money anyway."
Wentworth had been a successful handyman in Worcester, Mass., doing roofing, plumbing, flooring and whatever else was needed until about two years ago. Then businesses slowed down and as he was trying to decide what to do, he came upon the idea of walking for heroes. Wentworth isn’t a veteran himself, but his father was a 22-year Army veteran with a tour in Korea and three more in Vietnam, his nephew did a couple of tours in Iraq, a cousin did two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his uncle fought on the front lines in Korea.
"When people ask if I served, I tell them I’m a retired Army brat," Wentworth said.
Along his journey, people have been donating a few dollars here and there for Wentworth to use as for food or lodging. Also, some hotels have been supplying him with free rooms along the way. Other than those generous gestures, Wentworth is just walking, and walking and walking. Pulling a cart that has grown with items since his departure, wrapped in red, white and blue with the words "Walk for Heroes" on the side, he is making his way through towns such as Covington and Conyers.
While stopping for lunch at Arby’s on Highway 278 and Turner Lake Road, he walked over to two tables of active soldiers in the U.S. Army just to thank them for their service and to say hello. Another gentleman approached Wentworth as he was leaving and donated some money for his travels.
He then continued his walk along the access road and spent the night in Conyers, where he met more people, who now grace his Facebook page. Among them is Officer Jackie with the Conyers Police Department.
"I told him what I was doing. He said, ‘Hold on, I’m going to Google you. Then another police officer showed up. I got to admit I was a little nervous when he got out of his car. But then he said he was USMC and he would take a picture of me in front of the car," Wentworth said on his Facebook page. "Him and the other officer were so nice and made me feel so much less nervous as Jackie took some pics!"
Wentworth has dozens of stories of people embracing his march, and being happy to show their support.
In New Jersey a woman put him up in a hotel room for two nights when the temperature got into the single digits.
"That was a Godsend," Wentworth said.
Then in Richmond, Va., a Doubletree gave him a free night’s stay, as did as an Embassy Suites in Raleigh, N.C., which gave him a room and set up another for him to meet with Gov. Pat McCrory. However, McCrory had to deal with the snow and ice storm that went through the South.
Wentworth did meet with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who gave him a challenge coin, usually only given to the military.
After meeting with dignitaries, Wentworth then hit the roads traveling through Virginia, through snow, North Carolina through snow, and South Carolina snow. Now in Georgia, he has been snow free, and has his course set West on I-20 and into Texas where he will meet up with a group of Veterans in Arlington, Tex. to help him along his journey.
"I’ve been walking through rain, snow and even sleet," Wentworth said.