Virginia man walks 100 miles in bitter cold to honor military

Staunton resident Victor Wise walked 100 miles from Richmond, Va., to Arlington National Cemetery this weekend. Here he is 20 miles from his destination. (@FreedomRuck/Twitter)

In a move to honor U.S. troops, a Virginia man walked from the city of Richmond all the way to Arlington National Cemetery this weekend to thank the military for their service.

WTOP reported that Victor Wise started the 100 mile trek on Friday morning.  The man, from Staunton, Virginia, began the journey at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.  He reached his destination in Arlington in just under 48 hours.

When asked how he felt about his accomplishment, Wise said, “Pride.  Joy.  Humbled.  I mean, look out here.  All these American flags, shouts of encouragement.  It was a humbling experience.”

Wise’s father served as a former National Guard First Sergeant and spent time in Iraq and Cuba.  Other members of his family served in the military as well.

While traveling up Route 1, Wise carried a 50 pound ruck, a type of backpack used by military troops.  His yellow lab Kona walked alongside him part of the way.  Family, friends, co-workers and even strangers joined him at various points of the journey.

At the end of the walk, Wise said, “I’m going to have to cut my shoes off my feet, to be honest with you.  They’re in rough shape.  I feel like I’m walking around on bricks right now.  I’m looking forward to a long bath.  I got about six hours of sleep Thursday night and haven’t been to bed since.”

Last year, Wise started the “Freedom Ruck” challenge.  This year he has raised almost $5,000 for the Navy Seal Foundation.

“It’s a sense of pride in America. I just think that sometimes we forget the blessings we have and the people that give them to us and the families that sacrifice so much. They need to know that we appreciate them,” he said, dedicating his efforts to the troops.

He’s already thinking about next year and the third annual Freedom Ruck. “After this year, heck, why not?”

“It’s not really about the money, to be honest with you. The money obviously helps to take care of the soldiers who sacrifice so much. That’s a great part of it but the main concern, for me, is to say ‘thank you,’’ said Wise. “When you see them at the bar, buy them a beer. Or if you see them out at lunch, buy them lunch. Even if you see them at the airport, go up to them and thank them.”

If interested in donating to Freedom Ruck and the Navy Seal Foundation, go to


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