Pair embark on mission to support troops, homeless

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

John Hoover and Charles Eades left Louisville, Ky., on April 15 on a mission.

The two men, accompanied by Hoover's 16-year-old dog, Bear, wanted to do something to promote American troops in Iraq.

Walking seemed like the thing to do. Then more walking. And after that, even more walking -- all the way to California, they hope.

"We're just trying to touch every state," said Eades. "It's to draw awareness to the troops."

So far, they've traveled through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. The trio arrived in Cape Girardeau this weekend and plan to stay a couple days.

Along the way, churches and other organizations and individuals have helped Hoover and Eades with food and shelter. When that isn't available, they camp out.

Originally, Bear walked alongside them on secondary roads. His 16-year-old paws didn't last long though. Now they pull him in an old wagon. Hoover said the wagon is broken and he hopes to find a larger one to replace it soon.

Not only are they walking, the two men say they have made a point of helping stranded motorists and senior citizens.

"There's no time limit really. I just want to see as much as I can," said Hoover.

How much he sees depends on his health. He said he has a heart condition with only a year or so to live.

Homelessness cause

At the end of the journey, the two plan to write a book about the experience. It's turned out to be not only about supporting American soldiers, but about homelessness as well.

Hoover comes from a homeless situation, and their stroll across four states has made them both aware of how widespread the situation is.

"It's time for America to realize the seriousness of it," Hoover said.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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