Howdy folks: Where do I really start. I’m thinking I had better get some of this down before it slowly, or in some cases quickly, starts to fade from memory. That sometimes happens, not often, but sometimes.
Day 04 and the TREK is going great. Rhythm is slowly becoming routine.
Food is not an issue. Daily intake for early morning rise for coffee (first), banana and instant oatmeal and Max Muscle provided vitamins. Mid-morning break of 1/2 Zone bar or Larabar, lunch the same the I try and find a place to chow down with rice or pasta and chicken. Lots of water too!
I sleep well at nights and awake ready to go. I know that probably won’t last too very long but for now I’m going to go with it!
I have seem some amazing sites here in Colorado and met some wonderful folks! I must give HUGE kudos to KOA Kampgrounds, especially Mr. Dennis and Mrs. Y-Nette Shultz of Legacy Colorado Springs KOA and Mr. Dan and Linda Scott of the same. Great people all and big supporters of our military! If you’re ever in the area, I stongly recommend stopping in, if only to say hello!
Air Force Academy was awesome as expected. Such an impressive and beautiful campus setting. Lots of good folks coming out of that place every year.
Made it to Pueblo, CO this afternnoon an thanks to Dennis and Y-Nette I have a room for a few nights here. Can’t say enough about how generous KOA has been.
Next stop on the calendar is La Junta. Hope to be there by 03 April. Stay tuned.
Just a mention about my last night in North Colorado Springs. That particular KOA is located just across I-25 from gate 20 at Fort Carson. Seems as though they are preparing for an upcoming deployment so for most of the day yesterday, all night last night and again this morning the distant thunder of 155 Howitzers, hell fires from Apaches and or 120′s from the M1A2 tanks echoed in my ears. You’d think it would be bothersome, but not for me. It was actually very comforting, know that our young men and women about to deploy were preparing the best they could! It was pretty awesome to me!
Until next post,
Forrest a.k.a. Mike
Mike’s second day on the trail was a bit difficult thanks not only to the hilly Colorado terrain but 50+ mph wind gusts. As he said, “I was either walking uphill or into the wind or both!”
While it wasn’t easy, Mike did indeed arrive just outside the gates of Fort Carson on Monday. The owners of the Colorado Springs KOA have generously donated two nights of lodging for Mike. Please be sure to thank them by visiting their facility if you are traveling through the area.
This is just one small example of the outpouring of support Mike has received along the way and he is very grateful for it all. Mike reported, “I feel homeless but not helpless! There are SO many great people out there and I have met so many on the walk.”
Mike will spend two nights in the Springs before moving on to Pueblo on Wednesday. He is in need to lodging so please let us know if you can help.
Remember – Mike is making this walk to raise money for some extraordinary organizations. Click here to learn more.
Word of Operation: Hero Trek and Mike’s walk in support of veterans and our troops continues to spread. On Sunday the Highlands Ranch Herald had a nice story.
Longtime Highlands Ranch resident Mike Mobley, a self-described young 58, is not the first person to decide to hike across America to raise awareness for a cause.
Yet when the man who signs his emails as Forrest — in honor of Tom Hanks’ recognizable character who ran from coast to coast during one stretch of “Forrest Gump” — embarked on a 2,000-mile, three-month quest on foot March 24, he did it in honor of raising awareness for the United States military and military families all over.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to do this,” said Mobley, who is carrying an iPod, his cell phone with a GPS, a laptop, bedroll and some food and clothes with him. “I want people to realize that there are still people overseas fighting for our freedoms and sacrificing everything.”
Supporting Operation: Hero Trek just got easier – and fashionable. Not only can you contribute to one of four extraordinary organizations, you can also get your own OHT t-shirts and other gear!
We have opened up the Operation: Hero Trek online store where we have clothing and novelties for men, women and children.
Everything from t-shirts to golf shirts to baby blankets with the OHT logo is available. Best of all, all proceeds benefit Operation: Hero Trek.
A very special hero of the week - Senior Airman Mark Forester.
Mark’s brother, Thad, wrote that Mark will be remembered as a man who discovered his purpose in life, and died doing what he was sent here to do. He was a respectful son, loving brother, and true friend.
Thad will be joining Mike for part of the trek when he reaches Birmingham.
While Mark was serving as a full-time missionary in California, our nation was attacked on 11 September 2001. As a young man of 20 years old, he was outraged by this act and knew then it was his calling to fight terrorism. He received his college degree, and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June 2007. Despite everyone telling him to go in as an officer, he wanted to enlist because he wanted to start from the bottom up and he knew his chances of getting better deployment opportunities would be increased as an enlisted airman. He wanted the toughest job the military could offer, and Air Force Combat Controller was what he was looking for.
He was deployed to one of the most coveted areas by Combat Controllers in May 2010, FOB Cobra. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his heroic actions while engaged in ground combat against the enemy on 6 August 2010. Mark was fatally wounded during combat on 29 September 2010. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for paying the ultimate price for freedom. He was killed in action alongside one of his Special Forces teammates. His teammates and commander said he was a man who ran towards the sound of enemy fire. JAG 28, which was his call sign and the only name many pilots knew him by, was immediately retired after his death.
Most of his teammates/leaders who spoke at his funeral and memorial services ended their speeches with “Roll Tide” because they knew what a big Alabama fan he was.
Mark Andrew Forester
Born: May 15, 1981, Haleyville, AL
Graduated: Haleyville High School, 1999
2-year Volunteer Missionary: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oakland, CA 2000-2002
Graduated: University of Alabama, BS, Finance, 2006
USAF Combat Controller: 2007-2010, assigned to 21STS, Pope AFB, NC
Distinguished Graduate: USAF Combat Control School 2008
Bronze Star with Valor: 6 August, 2010
Purple Heart: 29 September, 2010
KIA: In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Uruzgon Province, Afghanistan, 29 September 2010
Survivors: Mom, Dad, 1 sister, 3 brothers, 13 nieces and nephews
Religion: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mike’s first official day on the road went well and he was aided by overcast skies helping to hold the temperature down. He did however comment he would be anxious to reach the plains and flatter terrain. Total distance covered today was 16.78 miles as he arrived in Castle Rock, Colorado. Tomorrow he starts heading toward the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Yesterday Mike began his 2,300 mile trek across the nation in support of veterans and the United States military. Denver’s NBC affiliate, KUSA, was on hand to capture the event and featured it on their evening and morning newscasts.
Check out the video below and click here to read the story on 9News’ website.
Please join Mike Mobley as he kicks off his walk across the country for Operation Hero Trek. This first leg will be from Lodo’s Bar and Grill in Highlands Ranch to one of the local Douglas County High Schools.
Individuals, groups and families welcome!
Date: Saturday, March 24, 2012
Time: 10:00am MDT
Location: Lodos Bar and Grill – Highlands Ranch, 8545 S Quebec St, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 (Click here for a map)
Tom Torres, U.S. Army Retired
Tom Torres most recent accomplishments stand with being the CEO/Founder of Forward Operating Base Summit County Co 501.c3. Whose mission is; ‘Taking Wounded and Active Military Personnel and their family on Outdoor Adventures.’
Master Sergeant Tom Torres entered the Army in March 1981. Assigned to 82nd Airborne Division 1st Battalion of the 509th Airborne Infantry Regiment Charlie Company in Vicenza Italy, Fort Bragg North Carolina 4th Battalion325th Airborne Infantry Regiment then assigned to 2nd Inf Division Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ) Camp Casey Korea, Fort Louis, Washington 75th Ranger Regiment Assigned to ECHO Company 2/75th Ranger Regiment. Served in the wars and conflicts of Grenada, Honduras, Panama, Desert Shield and Storm, Somalia and Bosnia. Some of his achievements while serving in the Army after Basic Training are the Army Achievement with Clusters, Army Accommodation Award, Overseas Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Ribbon, 2 Bronze Stars, 1 Silver Star and 4 Purple Hearts.
Within his career he has been acknowledged with the Expert Infantry Badge, Combat Infantry Badge three times, Basic parachute Badge, Senior Parachute Badge, Master Parachute Badge, Korea, and Panama & Belgium Jump Wings to name a few.
MSG Torres education within his Army Career was as (BNOC) Basic Non-commissioned Officer School, Advanced Non-commissioned Officer School (ANOC), PLDC/Primary Leadership Development Course, and Ranger Tab.
His Civilian education was established at Metro State University in Denver Colorado with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management & Hospitality. Where he has brought his culinary talent to Summit County Colorado to work at the Keystone Mountain House as the Executive Chef, Assistant Banquet Manager for Beaver Run and Kitchen Manager at seven’s Restaurant Breckenridge.
Presently Forward Operating Base Summit County Co 501.c3 started in May 2007, currently has successfully hosted over 500 wounded, active and retired Military Personnel to Summit County Colorado for outdoor adventures. Continuing the privilege to give back to these brave men and women who fight for our freedom is why the FOB Summit County Co motto is – WE LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND.
As we rely on in kind donations to support our mission your help can be given at any Wells Fargo Bank to the FOB Summit County Co Account or Volunteer on events. Our goal to raise $10,000 by May 2012 will assist in bringing up over 100 wounded soldiers assigned to us from Fort Carson Colorado. We invite you to visit us at www.fobsummitcountyco.org.
Residence: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Branch of Service: US Army Air Corps
Station: Hickam Airfield
Biography: On December 6, 1939, Francis Mack enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and was stationed at Hickam Airfield. On December 7, 1941, Francis was preparing to go to the beach. As he was an airplane mechanic, he heard the sound of a plane engine and noticed it sounded different. Looking up, he saw a Japanese fly low and strafe all of the American aircraft parked wing tip to wing tip, completely destroying the planes. Many of his friends were killed in the surprise attack. Grabbing a machine gun, he went to Fort Kamahameha to prepare for a potential Japanese invasion. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, Francis conducted photo-mapping of Africa and photo reconnaissance in the Pacific aboard a B-17 and B-24. He was discharged in October 1945 and later reenlisted in November 1945 with the US Army Air Corps, serving for an additional 17 years. He retired from the US Air Force in July 1962.