Making Your Mark: Meet the man who walked around America

13News Now LaSalle Blanks has the story.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- There are many people who start their day with some exercise by walking at Mt. Trashmore. But when Leroy Bailey showed up with his backpack stuffed with American flags proudly poking out, it was like a hero arrived.

"Oh you're the man who walked across the country," one person said. "I saw you on the news. God bless you," she said.

Other people wanted to shake his hand, pat him on the back or give him a high five or pose for pictures.

"Oh you're like Forrest Gump!" another person shouted while posing for a picture.

Leroy Bailey has become somewhat of a social media star, since he started his long walk.

He left Virginia Beach in June of 2014.

He walked down the east coast -- around Florida -- along the Gulf coast -- down around Texas -- across and up to California -- then up the west coast to Washington state -- then across the northern border of Canada -- to Maine -- then looped down the northeast to the mid-Atlantic and back to Hampton Roads.

PHOTOS: Meet the man who walked around America

He first returned last Saturday to much fanfare and has become somewhat of a local celebrity.

At least that's the way it looked at Mt. Trashmore.

"I think it's wonderful," Leroy said. "But it's not about me. It's not about how many pairs of shoes I went through or anything like that. It's about our veterans."

His goal was to raise awareness for the problem of homelessness among U.S. veterans.

"No one who once fought for our country should be on the street homeless," Leroy said. "Our country needs to take better care of our veterans."

Other people passing by agreed when they heard what Leroy was saying while being interviewed by 13News Now. In fact, some of them served in the military themselves.

"You're speaking for me, buddy," one Army veteran said. "Alright, alright, alright, good job!"

Then came applause, which felt good because Leroy told 13News Now the toughest part of the long trip was loneliness. He doesn't have to worry about that now because Leroy and is now reunited with his wife who is very happy he's home and very proud of his incredible feat walking around America. 

 

 


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