BY DYKE HENDRICKSON STAFF WRITER
Newburyport Daily News
---- — NEWBURYPORT — It’s a long walk from Maine to Florida, but the task of taking care of veterans is a huge endeavor, too, say a pair of hikers who strode into this city yesterday.
William Mosbach, 32, and Kristen Creech, 25, of West Palm Beach, Fla., are walking from Calais to Key West to raise money for a charity named Active Heroes.
They are taking a route known as the East Coast Greenway, which they said is composed of about 30 percent of off-road trails and the remainder on highways such as Route 1A.
They meet with public officials as well as local veterans to raise awareness of the needs of former soldiers — and to raise money.
“Some veterans have jobs waiting for them after service, but many fall through the cracks,” said Mosbach, an Army veteran who served in Iraq.
“Many vets need support, and we talk about that with people we meet on our trip. We are also raising money for a support association (Active Heroes) that deals with the individuals.”
Kevin Hunt, who heads the veterans affairs office in this community, said the couple has come about 300 miles as part of a 2,500-mile journey.
“This is a great effort to raise money for veterans and their families,” he said.
Mayor Donna Holaday, who greeted the pair at City Hall, said, “We look forward to following your progress as you continue your travels.”
The walk is expected to conclude in mid-March.
More information about the travelers — and their fundraising effort — can be found at www.activeheroes.org/hike. Information about how to make contributions can found at this site.
Holaday commended them for their effort, and invited them back to the city when they are finished and have more time to spend here.
Creech, who said she will return to a waitress job in Florida, is taking online courses as they trek south. Mosbach said he would like to get more involved in veterans organizations when they conclude their travels.
Mosbach, who remarked that the two are “dating,” said sometimes they spend the nights in the homes of supporters and on other occasions they camp out.
When they are fortunate, they are hosted at a hotel. They said that they were planning to spend last night at the Essex Street Inn.