5 Revelations About Poughkeepsie Man’s Walk Across USA
On Friday at 1:15 am, Commander Tom took his first footstep into Dutchess County after spending five months walking across America. Tommy Zurhellen spent the summer walking 22 miles a day, bringing his fight for veterans to people all over the country.
Every Monday morning Zurhellen would give live updates on his progress during The Boris and Robyn Show on WPDH. This Monday, Zurhellen joined the show live to talk about his incredible journey. We learned some incredible facts about his trip and what it's like to conquer a walk throughout the United States of America.
It took six pairs of sneakers
Zurhellen told us that he left for his trip with one pair of sneakers and a messenger bag. The bag was quickly swapped out after the strap gave him shoulder problems and he quickly learned that sneakers are only designed to last for about 500 miles. Because the trip took him all the way from Oregon to New York, Zurhellen had to replace his shoes six times.
He didn't listen to any music during his trip
Prepared with headphones and his phone, Zurhellen was planning to listen to podcasts, music and audiobooks to pass the time while walking. But in reality, he was never able to do that. Because he had to listen for traffic and other hazards on the road, Zurhellen realized that wearing headphones were not very safe. Left with nothing but his own thoughts to keep him company, Tom says he wound up singing "Baby Shark" over and over again, joking that that was the most torturous part of his journey.
Tom had the best night's sleep on the road
You'd think it would be tough to get enough rest while roughing it on the road, but Zurhellen says he slept great every night. Perhaps it was because he was so exhausted at the end of the day. Since he's been back in his own bed it's been a challenge getting to fall asleep, but the VFW commander says he is hopeful that he'll fall back into a normal schedule soon.
People are basically awesome
Zurhellen was prepared for the worst and was unsure how he would be fare being all by himself with no one but strangers to rely on. It turns out that most people are generally amazing. Before even knowing why he was walking through their town, Zurhellen says that he was mostly greeted with kindness by everyone he encountered.
Walking is a hard habit to break
Tom joined us in our studios at 8am on Monday, and when he entered the building we jokingly asked him if he walked here. In fact, he did. The two-mile hike from his apartment was nothing for him, and he didn't even consider taking a car. He says that his walking habit will be a hard one to break. In fact, his first experience driving since his return was "terrifying." Tom says that the world looks very different at thirty miles per hour than it does while walking.
We were honored to have Zurhellen back in the studio with us and didn't want him to leave without just one little surprise. Tom was officially named as this month's Vets Who Rock winner, so we were honored to be able to present him with a $500 check to help with his Veteran Zero campaign.
If you'd like to contribute, please visit the Veteran Zero website for more information on how your donation will help local veterans. And if you know a veteran who you'd like to nominate to receive a $500 award, and be in the running for $10,000, visit our official Vets Who Rock nomination page.