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Walking For Wounded Warriors

December 31, 2013, 6:10 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Walking For Wounded Warriors
TEA, SD -

A walk for wounded warriors is now complete. We first introduced you to Matthew Anderson on Sunday as he began a 50-mile walk in South Dakota.

Tuesday, Anderson finished the last leg of his trek, with some local support.

It's one thing to say you support a cause; it's another to carry it on your back. Anderson began his journey in Alcester with some warm clothes, a cross on his shoulder and a mission to raise awareness.

"It's my little bit of thanks for the wounded warriors and the veterans that have served and have given greater sacrifice than my own to our country and branches of the military," Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Matthew Anderson said. 

Anderson has served eight years in the Navy and is currently home on leave.  Instead of resting with his family, Anderson is trying to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project by walking with a marked, 80-pound cross on his back.

"My two grandfathers. One served on the European side of things on World War II and my other grandfather served the Pacific side during World War II. So they were the first names we put on to the cross," Anderson said. 

Other names are of veterans who were lost in combat and others who lost their lives because of the mental wounds they faced back home.

"Today is one of my friend's, this is his four-year anniversary of his death. So today's a pretty special day from that aspect of celebrating his life as well," Anderson said.

Many people have stopped Anderson during his journey to show support and sign names on the cross.

Tuesday, the Sioux Empire Red Cross showed up with an Emergency Response Vehicle, to accompany Anderson on the last leg of his walk.

"Matthew Anderson is a true testament to heroes in our community. And it's really easy for us to support people like that, that are supporting their fellow man and women that are in the military, to bring peace and hope to them" Tony Burke with the Sioux Empire Red Cross said. 

It's this kind of compassion from others that has taught Anderson a valuable lesson.

"I've learned that no matter what the temperatures are out, the warmness of people's hearts really bring people together for a great cause. And the people that have stopped to support and signed their names to the cross, really shows what power awareness and what people can do for a great cause," Anderson said.

You can support Anderson's cause and donate to the Wounded Warrior Project online.

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