(BPT) – Snow, Nor’easter storms and too many blisters to count — no challenge was too big for Matt and Trevor to overcome as they journeyed across the country this year. The determined duo began their excursion on March 1 in Delaware and recently celebrated their final steps in San Francisco on Sept. 8. Traveling across 15 states, Matt and Trevor experienced the trip of a lifetime. And they raised over $6,000 for veterans along the way.
Matt Anderson and Trevor Stephens met playing football in seventh grade in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and quickly became best friends. After high school, the two went their separate ways. Matt went to Iowa State University to study chemical engineering, whereas Trevor joined the Marines. Despite following different paths, Matt and Trevor’s friendship remained strong. The two agreed to take a road trip together before entering the workforce.
When they started planning their cross-country road trip, however, plans changed. Trevor suggested the idea of walking across America instead and while Matt was hesitant at first, he quickly became eager to take on this challenge as well.
As they began researching best routes to take, the pair also learned that many of those who have undertaken a similar journey did so for charity. Matt and Trevor decided to follow suit, and the two landed on supporting the Purple Heart Foundation.
The Purple Heart Foundation, an organization that hit particularly close to home for Trevor, offers emotional, medical and financial support to veterans who have completed their service and returned home. Trevor and Matt agreed that this was an organization they could be passionate about raising money and awareness for during their journey, so they set a goal to raise $5,000 in donations and began the Matt and Trevor Walk Across America event.
Traveling more than 3,000 miles during their cross-country hike, Matt and Trevor learned a lot about themselves, the country they love dearly and the people who make America beautiful. The two passed through Delaware; Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; West Virginia; Ohio; Indiana; Illinois; Iowa; Nebraska; Kansas; Colorado; Utah; Nevada and California. In each state, Matt and Trevor met people of diverse backgrounds and were humbled by their generosity. Along with donations, many people offered the two meals, lodging and gear to help them continue the journey. People were genuinely interested in learning more about the Purple Heart Foundation’s cause and truly wanted to help.
While there was no shortage of hard days (or blisters!), the people Matt and Trevor met along the way made the trip worth it and reminded them that they were walking for a cause that mattered to so many people across the country. Thanks to their determination, the pair celebrated their last steps of the journey at Baker Beach in San Francisco, where a group of family, friends, military buddies and people from the Purple Heart Foundation were ready to welcome and congratulate them on their incredible accomplishment. It’s stories like these and people like Matt and Trevor that remind us of what makes this country great.