ENCINITAS, Calif. — Kenny Mintz, a veteran, started his walk across America in Washington D.C in April and finished in Encinitas this weekend. His walk across the U.S was to raise funds for pancreatic cancer and several veteran organizations.
Mintz finished his journey at Swamis Beach, which is a special location to him as it’s rooted from memories of his mother who passed away from pancreatic cancer.
“When I was 4-years-old, she went from Washington D.C. and drove with me and nothing but me and a suitcase,” said Mintz. “And a dream and came out to San Diego to start a new life.”
Mintz seven-month jorney ended with family, friends and veterans, which he served along with.
“To honor the guys that I lost in combat and honor the guys I served with,” Mintz said.
His journey raised funds for The Independence Fund, an organization helping wounded veterans.
“He had a unit go through our program operation resiliency, which reunites combat units who served and sustained heavy casualties while they served and then have been plagued by veteran suicide when they return home,” said Caroline Arey with The Independence Fund.
Arey says Mintz has raised $12,000 for the organization, which will be able to help several veterans.
“We have about 10 different programs, we really try to restore the physical mental and emotional spiritual independence of our veterans,” said Arey.
Mintz thanked those who helped him along the way, including Jim Neebling who completed logistics for his journey.
“We sat down and I had gone through a kidney transplant two years prior and I was looking to give back,” said Neebling. “The story resonated with me. I was all in from that point on.”
Mintz walked 3,300 miles over a span of seven months, which he says gave him energy to keep going.
“I got to live life every single day that I was out here and I’m super proud of that,” said Mintz. “And I’m super proud of all the people that came out here to welcome me back.”