Former Marine Tim Tuomey is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, a military charity that provides financial assistance to injured Marines and their families.
After visiting a Naval Aid Station in Maryland, Tuomey could not stop thinking about one thing: the children of injured Marines he met there.
“Every time I wanted to quit [hiking], which was virtually every step for some sections, I thought about those kids and the look that they had standing next to their dad’s wheelchair, and I just can’t get that out of my head,” he told KOBI Tee-Vee.
For every mile he walks, Tuomey is asking for donations through his fundraiser, Operation Awakening II.
“This event was born from the success of the original Operation Awakening (OPA I). During OPA I, Tim raised $55,243 for the the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (IMSFF) culminating in a 3,325-mile trans-America bicycle ride,” according to his fundraising site.
This time around, Tuomey is hiking 2,600 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Canada to California, and is aiming to raise $100,000 in donations. His trek will end on November 10 – the birthday of the Marine Corps – at Camp Pendleton, California.
Tuomey served in the Marine Corps for five years and graduated at the top of his class with the title “Honor Man.” When he was about 900 miles into his hike, he told KOBI Tee-Vee: “When I was going through the snows in Washington that was by far the most difficult, trying, enduring event that I have ever had to get through in my life.”
But Tuomey’s adoptive mother, who recently passed away, gave him ongoing encouragement and keeps him pushing through the Pacific Crest.
“My mom and I always had a saying: just get through it,” Tuomey said.
There is about $60,000 left to raise, and all money raised from Operation Awakening II will be donated to the Semper Fi Fund.
The fund “provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities,” according to its website.
Tuomey’s hiking progress is being tracked through a live widget on the Operation Awakening website.